Profit-making PSUs to enjoy more powers

New Delhi, March 23 | Updated: Mar 24 2005, 06:31am hrs
The ad hoc group on public sector undertakings (PSUs) headed by Dr Arjun Sengupta is likely to recommend enhancing powers of profit-making PSUs in a number of areas. PSUs may be given additional powers in all save some areas specified in a negative list where alone the government will continue to enjoy decision making powers, according to sources.

The concerned ministry under which the PSU operates will have no say in matters of contracts and tendering. This will extend the freedom of the PSU to make purchases from wherever it considers viable. Under the enhanced powers, ministries will have no say in the appointment of consultants and agents for various organisational activities of the PSU either.

Apart from navratnas and miniratnas such powers will also be extended to those PSUs that have a positive networth and are making profits. The ad hoc group will soon decide the minimum networth for a PSU to be eligible for these powers.

The PSUs that are likely to benefit from this are the nine navratnas and 45 miniratnas. The ad hoc group of experts was set up to consider issues like autonomy, greater delegation of financial powers, corporate governance and R&D for making the public sector more professional and effective. The committee was constituted in terms of the mandate of the National Common Minimum Programme which had promised full managerial and commercial autonomy to successful, profit making companies.

The group of experts is headed by Dr Arjun Sengupta as chairman. The secretary expenditure, Dr Adarsh Kishore, is the convenor of the group which includes Anwarul Hoda member planning commission, Subir Raha- CMD ONGC and CP Jain - CMD NTPC among seven members apart from the chairman and convenor.

The ad hoc group is likely to submit the report soon to the minister of heavy industries and public enterprises Santosh Mohan Dev. But it is not clear if the recommendations will go to the Cabinet as it has been appointed by the ministry of heavy industries and public enterprises.