HAL, BEL get Navratna status


New Delhi : State-owned defence production majors Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) were Friday conferred the coveted 'Navratna' status that gives them greater financial and operational autonomy to enable them graduate to the next level of excellence.

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A.K. Saxena, managing director of HAL's Bangalore complex, and BEL chairman and managing director V.V.R. Sastry received the certificates from Finance Minister P. Chidambaram at a special investiture ceremony here.

Speaking on the occasion, Chidambaram said the Navratna status is an honour for public sector enterprises for their achievements in their respective fields and would spur them to graduate to the next level of excellence and competitiveness.

"There is a need to reassess the role of the public sector in a growing global market," the minister maintained.

"The market is the world, not just India. Fundamental to the success of any corporate set-up is to achieve global benchmarks," he added, urging the companies to strive for quality work coupled with efficiency.

Asking more public sector units to list on the stock market, Chidambaram said this would bring in transparency and more accountability.

"Unlocking true value, getting listed in the stock market and exploring human resources are key to the success of public sector enterprises today," he added.

In his acceptance speech, Saxena said the Navratna status was testimony to the growing capabilities of HAL.

"This puts greater responsibility on HAL to perform even better. Navratna has been a dream for HAL for a long time and today we are ready to raise our bar to yet another level of competence and perfection," he maintained.

"The enhanced financial and operational powers would now enable HAL to propel its missions more aggressively and stand counted among top aviation majors in the world," a company statement said.

BEL's Sastry said: "We are delighted. It is a recognition of the company's inherent strengths in research and development, manufacturing, quality and thrust on self-reliance.

"It is also a recognition of the company's ability to face global competition and become an international player," he added.

BEL manufactures a wide range of products in the areas of military communication, radars, naval systems, telecom and broadcast, electronic warfare, tank electronics, opto-electronics, professional electronic components and solar photovoltaic systems.