A panel of bureaucrats headed by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekhar would decide on upgrading some of the Navaratna public sector firms to 'MahaNavaratna', a senior official said.
The 'MahaNavaratna' tag would allow the state-run firms to make investment decisions of up to Rs 5,000 crore (Rs 50 billion) without having to go to the government for approval. Currently, the boards of Navaratna PSUs have the powers to decide on investments of up to Rs 1,000 crore (Rs 10 billion), beyond which they have to go to the Public Investment Board for approval.
The new tag will give them greater autonomy to forge joint ventures, float overseas companies and the freedom to decide on mergers and acquisitions of a particular size.
The official said the Department of Public Enterprises has sent a strict qualifying criterion of turnover, net worth, profitability and overseas presence to qualify for the MahaNavaratna tag.
Only six PSUs may meet the qualifying norm of Rs 30,000 crore (Rs 300 billlion) or more turnover and at least Rs 5,000 crore (Rs 50 billion) net profit in the past three years besides an average net worth of Rs 15,000 crore (Rs 150 billion), he said.