New Delhi: Power equipment maker BHEL and state gas utility GAIL have approached the government for grant of Maharatna status, which will give them greater financial autonomy.
"Recently, both BHEL and GAIL have forwarded their applications for the grant of the status to the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE)," an official told PTI.
The Scrutiny Committee of the DPE would soon meet to scrutinise the proposals, he added.
At present, BHEL and GAIL are Navratna PSUs.
Once a company gets the Maharatna tag, its board would not be required to take the government's permission for investments up to Rs 5,000 crore in a joint venture project or wholly-owned subsidiary. For the Navratna companies, the limit is Rs 1,000 crore.
A company qualifying for the Maharatna status should have an average annual turnover of more than Rs 25,000 crore in the last three years, according to the guidelines.
Among others, the PSU must have a net worth of over Rs 15,000 crore and net profit of more than Rs 5,000 crore during the last three years.
BHEL qualifies for Maharatna status as the company meets the eligibility criteria in terms of net worth, turnover and net profit. During 2011-12, the company's net profit stood at Rs 7,039 crore on a turnover of Rs 49,244 crore. The entity's net worth stood at Rs 25,373 crore.
While GAIL meets two parameters related to turnover and net worth. However, its net profit falls short of the eligibility criteria of Rs 5,000 crore on an average annual basis in the last three fiscals.
State gas utility firms' net profit stood at about Rs 3,653 crore, turnover was Rs 40,829 crore and net worth Rs 21,449 crore in 2011-12.
At present, there are five Maharatna companies -- ONGC, Indian Oil, SAIL, NTPC and CIL and 16 Navratna companies, including Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, NMDC and GAIL.
The government had announced the Maharatna scheme in December, 2009 to give more operational freedom to the top performing PSUs.