The Lifeline of Modern India
In 1954 while inaugurating the Bhakra Nangal dam, India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, termed public sector undertakings the “temples of modern India”. His words still hold true several decades down the line. The PSUs have played a vital role in establishing the foundations of a self-generating industrial economy in India since the First Five-Year Plan rolled out five Central public sector enterprises with a total investment of Rs 29 crore. Today, there are over 250 PSUs which employ about 1.39 million persons and generate 5 per cent of the total jobs in the organised sector of India.
Though the State-owned behemoths have made a vital contribution in building a robust Indian economy, their role has now assumed a new dimension.
Our Special Report in this edition reflects the changing role of the PSUs in the changing global market scenario.
During the crucial period of 2008 when the nations across the globe were facing the economic meltdown crisis, it was the PSUs which played the key role in steering India’s economy in the right direction. However, there is no denying the fact that some PSUs have become white elephants and some are facing in-house challenges while there are others which have been facing stiff competition from private firms ever since the economy was liberalised in 1991.
Nevertheless, we have ample reasons to believe and be confident about the ability of our public sector to operate in an open environment. Our PSUs have done extremely well and are now poised to grow even faster in the years to come. Over the years, the number of profit-making public sector enterprises has increased steadily. Those which were facing losses are also making a turnaround in a big way under the leadership of visionary professionals and are ready to face new challenges in an increasingly competitive world.
Today, more and more PSUs are striving hard to become active global players. And one such PSU is ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL), the overseas arm of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited. The OVL has a global footprint in 17 countries and is significantly meeting India’s energy security needs.
Despite a slump in international crude oil prices, the OVL under the visionary administrative acumen of its CMD, NK Verma, recorded its highest ever production. In our Cover Story, the OVL CMD in an exclusive interview to Bureaucracy Today speaks about the company’s recent achievements, its future roadmap, the challenges ahead and the global energy scenario.