Saturday, December 21, 2013

ONGC chief pitches for fixed tenures for PSU top brass, 'Super-Maharatna' category

ONGC CMD Vasudeva
ONGC chairman-cum-managing director Sudhir Vasudeva has batted for fixed tenure for top management of PSUs and greater autonomy to their boards to make them more competitive. Seeking greater financial autonomy, he also advocated creation of a 'Super-Maharatna' category of PSUs by empowering them to compete in the international space efficiently. To develop and retain human resource talent pool, PSU board...
"should be given freedom to decide their pays and perks within some broad guidelines", he said. There are at present seven Maharatna and 14 Navratna PSUs.
Speaking at AIMA's third PSU Summit in New Delhi, Vasudeva said the SK Roongta committee had recommended fixed tenure for the top management of PSUs to help them realise their vision for the companies. "This (fixed tenure) will facilitate a long-term approach and ensure a strategic bent to the company's decisions," he said. The department of public enterprises has already held consultations with ministries concerned on reforms measures that have been accepted by the group of ministers (GoM).
The reforms, recommended by a government-panel chaired by former SAIL chairman SK Roongta, include three-year fixed tenure for PSUs' heads and swift action against PSUs officials indulging in any malafide actions. At present, all directors as well as chairmen of CPSEs retire at the age of 60 which may limit the implementation of many key policies.
As on March 31, 2012, there were 260 CPSEs, excluding seven insurance companies. At that time, these companies employed about 13.98 lakh people.
Vasudeva, 59, whose appointment as head of India's most profitable company was delayed by eight months due to false complaints, may not be able to take all initiatives to their logical conclusion in his less than two-and-half-year tenure that ends in February next year.
He said the government should make timely appointments of heads of PSUs as well as board positions "so that there is no break in the decision making structure of the organisation". "There is every reason to believe that, unshackled from these constraints, the public sector companies, some of which are already global players competing with the very best in their field of operations, will attain even greater levels of performance and global acclaim," he said.
He said PSU's' share of GDP was just 10 percent in the beginning of the 70s, which grew rapidly in the following two decades and more than doubled to 25 percent by 1990-91. He said that CPSEs’ share in GDP was 22.1 percent in FY'12. Their contribution to the Central exchequer by way of payment of excise duties and corporate taxes grew by 2.6 percent from Rs 1,567.5 billion in FY'11 to Rs 1,608 billion in FY12. "To my opinion, the issue of ensuring a level playing field in terms of freedom of doing business with our counterparts in private sector alone has the potential of unleashing tremendous capabilities of PSEs which in turn would surely usher in a new era of growth for the country," he added. 

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