State-run Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) is all set to become a Maharatna company. The oil marketing company is at present a Navratna firm. The decision to elevate BPCL to Maharatna status was taken by a panel headed by the Cabinet secretary and an announcement to this effect is likely soon, according to official sources. Maharatna and Navaratna state-owned units operate in strategic fields such as coal, petroleum, steel, heavy engineering, power supply, telecommunications and transportation services.
Under government rules, a firm is eligible for Maharatna status if it is already a listed Navratna firm, has an average turnover, net worth and annual net profit after tax of at least Rs 25,000 crore, Rs 15,000 crore and Rs 5,000 crore, respectively, in the last three years. Moreover, the company should have significant global operations.
However, the exploration arm of BPCL, Bharat Petro Resources, has been making losses — Rs 54.5 crore in FY16, Rs 34 crore in FY15 and Rs 116 crore in FY14. At present, there are seven Maharatna companies — Bharat Heavy Electricals, Coal India, GAIL (India), Indian Oil Corporation, NTPC, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Steel Authority of India. After becoming a Maharatna firm, the board of BPCL will get enhanced powers which will help in expansion of operations, both in India and abroad.