The government identified PSUs and declared them as maharatnas, navratnas and mininavratnas in order to improve their efficiency and enable them to compete globally. They are given greater managerial and operational autonomy in taking various decisions. Greater operational, financial and managerial autonomy has also been granted to profit making enterprises referred to as miniratnas. In 2011, about 90 public enterprises were designated with different status.
A few examples of public enterprises with their status are as follows
(a) Indian Oil Corporation Limited Ob) Steel Authority of India Limited
(a) Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited
(b) Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited
(a) Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited
(b) Airport Authority of India
(c) Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited
Many of these profitable PSUs were established during the 1950s and 1960s when self-reliance was an important objective of planning. They were set up with the intention of providing infrastructure and direct employment to the public so that quality products are made available to the masses at a reasonable cost. These companies themselves were made accountable to all stakeholders.
The granting of this special status resulted in better performance of these companies. But some of these public enterprises were partly privatised through disinvestment. Recently, the government has decided to retain them in the public sector and enable them to expand themselves in the global markets and raise resources by themselves from financial markets.