Thursday, December 24, 2015

A flashback for PSUs: 2015

WITH hardly few days left in this calendar year, it is time to take a fresh look into the key events of the year that shaped up the PSU sector. It was in short a year of mixed bag for the PSUs. Some good news cheered up the sector...
while others dampened their spirits. Here is a sneak peek of the key events that impacted the PSUs in 2015.
7th Pay Commission recommends 23.55% hike
The biggest news of the year was the Seventh Pay Commission submitting its report. The seventh central pay commission on November 19 recommended a 23.55 per cent hike in the cumulative earnings of serving and retired central government employees, saddling the Union government with a bill of Rs 1.02 lakh crore in the next financial year. The figure of 23.55 per cent covers the increases in pay, allowances and pension. However, the recommended raise in basic pay is only 14.27 per cent – the lowest in 70 years. The basic pay determines various allowances. The previous commission had recommended a 20 per cent hike, which the government doubled while implementing it in 2008. The gratuity ceiling will be enhanced to Rs 20 lakh from Rs 10 lakh. It will be raised by 25 per cent whenever dearness allowance goes up by 50 per cent. The recommendations of the pay commission will come into effect from January 1, 2016. The pay commission, headed by Justice A.K. Mathur, submitted its 900-page report to Union finance minister Arun Jaitley at his residence. A secretariat headed by the expenditure secretary will study the report before the government takes the final decision. Normally, the government doesn’t reject the commission’s recommendations.
3 HMT units, Tungabhadra Steel to be shut down 
The government on December 17 said it has submitted closure proposals related to four companies including three HMT units and Tungabhadra Steel to CCEA for approval. "Cabinet notes for closure of four unviable public sector companies namely HMT Watches Ltd, HMT Chinar Watches Ltd, HMT Bearings Ltd, and Tungabhadra Steel Products Ltd, have been finalised and submitted to the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) for approval," Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises G M Siddeshwara said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.
NTPC, the Maharatna PSU will soon get a new boss. The chairman of Rural Electrification Corporation, Rajiv Sharma, is the frontrunner for the post of chairman of state-run NTPC, the country's largest thermal power producer, according to people aware of the development. The committee set up to select NTPC's chairman has shortlisted eight candidates from a list of 24 applicants, they said. Some of the others on the list are Praveer Sinha, the chief executive of Tata Power Delhi Distribution Company, Aman Singh, principal secretary to the chief minister of Chattishgarh, and NTPC's finance director, K Biswal.
SAIL gets new CMD 
Finally, state-owned steel maker SAIL (Steel Authority of India Limited) gets it new CMD. PK Singh, the CEO of Duragpur Steel Plant assumed charge as the new chairman of Steel Authority of India Limited. His appointment will fill up a key vacancy in top leadership at the country's largest state-owned domestic steel company. SAIL remained without a regular chief since June 11, 2015 when the Modi government refused to extend the term of the-then incumbent chairman CS Verma.
In a to bring the ailing PSUs back on track, the Narendra Modi-led NDA government has decided to wind up the Board for Reconstruction of Public Sector Enterprises (BRPSE) may be on its way out and a new panel might be tasked to revive the sick PSUs. The BRPSE has not been successful in its job assigned by the government. The Centre has shut shop for the BRPSE as part of its new strategy to revive and disinvest sick public sector units. It was here we reported as early as March 17 that BRPSE was on its way out and to be replaced by a new panel.
80,000 jobs in PSU banks
Come 2017 and it will be raining jobs for the youngsters keen to work in the country’s leading public sector banks. Around 80,000 vacancies are expected to be up for grabs at top public sector banks in the country, including State Bank of India. This is because a large number of officers and staff will retire over the next two years. As many as 78,800 employees will retire during current fiscal and the next, a news agency quoting official sources said.
BPCL to get Maharatna tag in March 2016
The second largest state-owned refiner Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) will get the coveted Maharatna status in March next year. Thus, the PSU will join the select group of seven Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs), reports a leading daily. Falling crude oil prices and reduced losses are likely to add significantly to BPCL's profit.

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