BHEL, GAIL get Maharatna status

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The government today said it has granted Maharatna status to Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) and Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL).

With Maharatna status, the two public sector enterprises would have more operational freedom for carrying out activities in the country as well as overseas.

Maharatna scheme is aimed at giving enhanced powers to the boards of identified large-sized Navratna Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) so as to facilitate expansion of their operations, both in domestic as well as global markets, an official release said.

In the case of BHEL and GAIL, they can exercise their Maharatna powers only after having requisite number of non-official directors on their respective boards.

“The concerned administrative ministries of the two CPSEs have been asked to take immediate steps to appoint requisite number of non-official directors on the boards of BHEL and GAIL so that the boards could exercise the delegated Maharatna powers,” according to the release.

As per existing norms, Maharatna entities should have at least four non-official directors.

Among others, the Maharatna status allows companies to “incur capital expenditure on purchase of new items or for replacement, without any monetary ceiling”.

Also, these CPSEs should not depend upon budgetary support or government guarantees.

“The resources for implementing their programmes should come from their internal resources or through other sources, including capital markets”.

“However, budgetary support to implement government sponsored projects of national interest and government sponsored research and development projects will not disqualify CPSEs from retaining their Maharatna status and for such projects, investment decisions will be taken by the Government and not by the concerned CPSE,” the release said.

One of the eligibility criteria to be given the coveted status is that the company should have an average annual turnover over Rs 25,000 crore during the last three years.

There are now seven Maharatna companies — ONGC, Indian Oil, GAIL, BHEL, NTPC and CIL.

(This article was published on February 5, 2013)
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