The top 41 public sector units (PSUs), including oil sector biggies such as Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Oil India and Indian Oil Corporation, power sector giant NTPC and mining behemoth Coal India, contributed as much as 65 per cent to the combined annual profit of Rs 1,53,907 crore earned by 202 government-owned firms in 2013-14.
According to the latest report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, out of the 202 Central PSUs which earned profit during FY14, as many as 111 declared a dividend amounting to Rs 66,051 crore of which the government received Rs 41,842 crore.
This works out to a 17.06 per cent return on the government's investment. The report states that ten PSU under the administrative control of the ministry of petroleum and natural gas contributed Rs 14,977 crore of the total dividend, which works out to 22.7 per cent.
The report also points out that 19 companies did not comply with the directive of the government to declare a dividend, which led to a shortfall of Rs 2,555 crore to the national exchequer.
The CAG report also reveals that there are as many as 124 central public sector enterprises that piled up a mammoth loss of Rs 49,612 crore in 2013-14, which constitutes a sharp increase from the loss of Rs 29,184 crore in the previous fiscal.
Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) has gained the dubious distinction of being listed among the three worst performers with a staggering loss of Rs 7,020 crore. Chhattisgarh East Railway and Chhattisgarh East West Railways piled even bigger losses of Rs 14,181 crore and Rs 13,458 crore respectively during the fiscal.
The report also has a long list of PSUs like Air India which did not submit their accounts by the due date while other loss-making companies such as Mining and Allied Machinery Corporation are under liquidation.
The report laments that the issue of arrears in accounts of Central government companies has been consistently reported by the CAG and also raised with the ministry of corporate affairs and the administrative ministries concerned.
However, no action has been taken under Section 210 of the Companies Act against the defaulting persons, including directors of PSUs responsible for noncompliance in this regard.
The report concludes that "the delay in presentation of accounts for CAG's audit amounted to a dilution of parliamentary control over management of public money invested in these entities and violation of statutory provisions".
(In association with Mail Today Bureau)