Navratna was the title given originally to 9 Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs) identified by the Government of India in 1997 as "public sector companies that have comparative advantages", giving them greater autonomy to compete in the global market so as to "support [them] in their drive to become global giants".
PSU companies are divided into three categories:
- Miniratna CPSEs
- Category I
- Category II
Originally, the term Navaratna meant a talisman or ornament composed of nine precious gems. Later, this symbology was adopted in the courts of Emperor Vikramaditya and the Mughal emperor Akbar, where the Navaratnas were a group of nine extraordinary men in their respective courts.
In 2009, the government established the Maharatna status, which raises a company's investment ceiling from Rs. 1,000 crore to Rs. 5,000 crore. The Maharatna firms can now decide on investments of up to 15 per cent of their net worth in a project; the Navaratna companies could invest up to Rs 1,000 crore without explicit government approval.
Current Financial Autonomy Status
There are currently 7 Maharatnas, 14 Navratnas and 53 Miniratnas-I and 16 Miniratna-II.
There are multiple factors and criteria for granting 'ratna' status. However, major criteria of awarding status are:
- Three years with an annual net profit of over Rs. 5000 crore
- Average annual Net worth of Rs. 15,000 crore for 3 years
- Average annual Turnover of Rs. 25,000 crore for 3 years
- A score of 60 (out of 100), based on six parameters which include net profit, net worth, total manpower cost, total cost of production, cost of services, PBDIT (Profit Before Depreciation, Interest and Taxes), capital employed, etc.
- A company must first be a Miniratna and have 4 independent directors on its board before it can be made a Navratna.
- Miniratna Category-I
- Have made profits continuously for the last three years or earned a net profit of Rs. 30 crore or more in one of the three years.
- Miniratna Category-II
- Have made profits for the last three years continuously and should have a positive net worth.
The Categorisation entitles the company boards to do investments up to a limit (depending on the status) without seeking government permission.
- Maharatna: up to Rs.1,000 crore - Rs. 5,000 crore, or free to decide on investments up to 15% of their net worth in a project.
- Navratna: up to Rs. 1,000 crore or 15% of their net worth on a single project or 30% of their net worth in the whole year (not exceeding Rs. 1,000 crores).
- Miniratna-I: up to Rs. 500 crore or equal to their net worth, whichever is lower.
- Miniratna-II: up to Rs. 300 crore or up to 50% of their net worth, whichever is lower.
List of Maharatna
- Coal India Limited 
- Indian Oil Corporation 
- NTPC Limited 
- Steel Authority of India limited
- Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited
- GAIL (India) Limited
- Oil and Natural Gas Corporation 
- Bharat Electronics Limited
- Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited
- Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
- Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited
- Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited
- National Aluminium Company Limited
- National Mineral Development Corporation Limited
- Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited
- Oil India Limited
- Power Finance Corporation Limited
- Power Grid Corporation of India Limited
- Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited
- Rural Electrification Corporation Limited
- Shipping Corporation of India Limited
- Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited
- Paradeep Phosphates Ltd
- Planner India
List of Miniratna-I
- Airports Authority of India
- Antrix Corporation
- Balmer Lawrie & Co.
- Bharat Dynamics Limited
- Bharat Earth Movers
- Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited
- Bridge and Roof Company (India)
- Central Warehousing Corporation
- Central Coalfields
- Chennai Petroleum Corporation
- Cochin Shipyard
- Container Corporation of India
- Dredging Corporation of India
- Engineers India Limited
- Ennore Port
- Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers
- Goa Shipyard
- Hindustan Copper Limited
- HLL Lifecare Limited
- Hindustan Newsprint Limited
- Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited
- Housing and Urban Development Corporation
- India Tourism Development Corporation
- Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation
- IRCON International Limited
- Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd.
- Mazagon Dock Limited
- Mahanadi Coalfields Limited
- MOIL Limited
- Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited
- MMTC Ltd
- MSTC Limited
- National Fertilizers Limited
- National Seeds Corporation Limited
- NHPC Limited
- Northern Coalfields Limited
- North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited
- Numaligarh Refinery Limited
- ONGC Videsh Limited
- Pawan Hans Helicopters Limited
- Projects and Development India Limited
- Railtel Corporation of India Limited
- Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers Limited
- RITES Limited
- SJVN Limited (Nathpa Jhakri Dam)
- Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited
- South Eastern Coalfields Limited
- State Trading Corporation of India Limited
- Telecommunications Consultants India Limited
- THDC Ltd
- Western Coalfields Limited
- Water and Power Consultancy Services Limited
List of Miniratna-II
- Bharat Pumps & Compressors Limited
- Broadcast Engineering Consultants India
- Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Limited
- Educational Consultants India Limited
- Engineering Projects (India) Limited
- FCI Aravali Gypsum and Minerals (India) Limited
- Ferro Scrap Nigam Limited
- HMT (International) Limited
- HSCC (India) Limited
- India Trade Promotion Organisation
- Indian Medicines & Pharmaceuticals Corporation Limited
- MECON Limited
- National Film Development Corporation
- National Small Industries Corporation
- PECC Limited
- Rajasthan Electronics and Instruments Limited
- Balmer Lawrie
- Original govt. announcement about the Navratnas 1997
- "Maharatna status for mega PSUs gets nod". The Times of India. 25 December 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
- Coal India gets Maharatna tag - Economic Times Article
- 5 PSUs get maharatna status - Indianexpress
- 4 PSUs get maharatna status - Indianexpress
- - Dept of Public Enterprises, Govt. of India