The proposals for grant of Maharatna status to four bluechip public sector enterprises-- ONGC, SAIL, NTPC and IOC--will soon be referred to a high- level secretaries' panel headed by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar.
Only four PSUs meet the stringent criteria set for the Maharatna title, which grants the companies increased functional freedom.
A Maharatna firm can take investment decision of up to Rs 5,000 crore without going to the government.
"We have cleared applications from ONGC, SAIL, NTPC and IOC. It would soon be sent to the apex committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary for its consideration," a senior official in the Department of Public Enterprises said.
Besides the Cabinet Secretary, other members of the apex committee are: Secretaries of the Department of Public Enterprises,Department of Expenditure and in the Planning Commission.
The four firms for the Maharatna tag fulfill the criteria of a three-year track record of annual net profit of over Rs 5,000 crore, net worth of more than Rs 15,000 crore and turnover of more than Rs 25,000 crore, besides being listed on the stock exchanges.
Of the 158 profit-making PSUs, 18 enjoy the Navratna status while 62 are mini-Navratnas. In all, there are 246 PSUs in the Central sector.
At present, the board of the Navratna PSU can make investment decision up to Rs 1,000 crore on its own.