New Delhi: The Central Government on Thursday said out of the seven Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) which have applied for the coveted Maharatna tag, five Companies have been granted the status, providing them greater financial and operational autonomy.

The five state-owned units which were accorded the status were ONGC, NTPC, IOC, SAIL and CIL, Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Praful Patel said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

BHEL and GAIL are the other two PSUs which have applied for the status, the Minister said.

To be eligible for the grant of the Maharatna status, the Company should have an average turnover of over Rs 25,000 crore, average annual net worth of more than Rs 15,000 crore and average annual net profit of over Rs 5,000 crore during the last three years, Patel said.

Besides, it should be a Navratna firm, should be listed on the Indian Stock Exchange with minimum prescribed public shareholding under the SEBI regulations and have global presence, the Minister added.

The Government had introduced the Maharatna status for CPSEs in February 2010. The proposals for grant of the Maharatna tag to CPSEs are required to be initiated by the concerned Ministry/Department and forwarded it to the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE).

Patel said the proposals for grant of Maharatna status to CPSEs are initially considered by the Inter-Ministerial Committee and thereafter by the Apex Committee.

Once a Company gets the Maharatna status, its board would not be required to take the Government's permission for investments up to Rs 5,000 crore in a joint venture project or wholly-owned subsidiary. For the Navratna Companies, the limit is Rs 1,000 crore.