SBI and LIC should be given ‘Maharatna’ status for their contribution to nation

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A report by the State Bank of India’s economic research department (ERD) has argued that the Maharatna list should be balanced by including representatives from the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) sector.

The report points out that SBI and LIC, the market leaders in their segments, do not have Maharatna status, even though they are way more than Maharatna CPSEs (central public sector enterprises) in terms of size of the balance sheet.

The ERD also argues that the Maharatna list is incomplete without the inclusion of worthy suitors, which curtails their optimal maneuverability to navigate the chequered landscape as businesses undergo a tectonic transformation post-covid era.

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The ERD has suggested that SBI, LIC, and ONGC be distinguished as “Amrit Ratna” to recognize their immense contribution in nation building for “Amrit Kaal” (the next 24 years period up to the centenary of India’s Independence).

If PSEs are recognised on the basis of the size of their balance sheet, three entities (i) SBI, (ii) LIC and (iii) ONGC are too big to fail for the nation, Ghosh said. So, to recognise their immense contribution in nation building for Amrit Kaal (the next 24 years period up to the centenary of India’s Independence), they may be even distinguished as Amrit Ratna.

The ERD has also suggested that the benefits that the Maharatna and Navratna tags accrue should be redrawn in sync with a sector’s evolving requirements to make select entities more competitive and future-ready.

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What is a Maharatna company?

Maharatna companies are a distinguished category of Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) in India. The term “Maharatna” means “a great jewel” in Hindi. These companies are deemed to be of immense importance to the nation’s economy and have significant global influence. To qualify as a Maharatna, a PSU must meet certain criteria set by the Indian government. These criteria include having a consistently high-performance record, substantial annual turnover, and substantial net worth. A Maharatna company has more autonomy in making financial decisions without government approval.

List of Top 13 Maharatna Companies in India in 2023

  1. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL)
  2. Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL)
  3. Coal India Limited (CIL)
  4. Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL)
  5. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL)
  6. Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL)
  7. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC)
  8. Oil and natural gas corporation (ONGC)
  9. Power Grid Corporation of India (POWERGRID)
  10. Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL)
  11. Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (RECL)
  12. Power Finance Corporation (PFC)
  13. Oil India Limited (OIL)
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