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India's economic landscape boasts a unique category of public sector enterprises (PSEs) – the Maharatnas. These companies are regarded as the crown jewels of India's industrial sector, playing a pivotal role in the nation's economic growth and infrastructure development. This blog delves into the world of Maharatna companies, exploring their characteristics, selection criteria, and significance to the Indian economy.

What are Maharatna companies?

Maharatna, which translates to "great gem" in Hindi, signifies the elite status bestowed upon a select group of Indian PSEs. These companies are recognized for their exceptional financial performance, operational efficiency, and global presence. They are granted a greater degree of autonomy and decision-making power compared to other PSEs.

Criteria to become a Maharatna company

The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) under the Ministry of Finance establishes the criteria for awarding Maharatna status. Here are some of the key benchmarks:

  • Financial Performance: A consistent track record of profitability, with a minimum net worth or net profit threshold.
  • Operational Efficiency: Strong operational performance metrics, including return on equity (ROE) and return on investment (ROI).
  • Global Presence: A significant international presence, with a strong track record of overseas ventures and collaborations.
  • Size and Scale: Large-scale operations with a substantial asset base and turnover.

Selection process

The DPE evaluates the performance of CPSEs (Central Public Sector Enterprises) against the established criteria. Companies meeting or exceeding these benchmarks are considered for Maharatna status. The final decision is typically made by a high-level committee comprising representatives from the DPE, Ministry of Finance, and other relevant ministries.

Significance of Maharatna companies

Maharatna companies play a crucial role in the Indian economy:

  • Driving Economic Growth: They contribute significantly to India's GDP through their large-scale operations and investments.
  • Infrastructure Development: They play a vital role in developing and maintaining India's critical infrastructure, such as power, transportation, and communication networks.
  • Technological Advancement: These companies often spearhead research and development initiatives, fostering technological innovation and industrial modernization.
  • Job Creation: They are major employers, providing direct and indirect employment opportunities to millions of Indians.
  • Global Competitiveness: Their global presence enhances India's standing in the international marketplace and attracts foreign investment.

Current list of Maharatna companies (as of May 9, 2024)

  • Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL)
  • Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL)
  • Coal India Limited (CIL)
  • GAIL (India) Limited (GAIL)
  • Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL)
  • Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL)
  • National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC)
  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC)
  • Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID)
  • Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC)
  • Power Finance Corporation (PFC)
  • Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL)


Maharatna companies are the cornerstones of India's industrial landscape. Their continued success is vital for the nation's economic prosperity and technological advancement. As India strives towards becoming a global economic powerhouse, the Maharatnas will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in this journey.

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