Non-compliance of the government's directive with regard to dividend declaration by 53 CPSEs resulted in a shortfall of Rs 9,417.75 crore to the exchequer in 2017-18, according to a CAG report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.
As per the norms, all profit-making central public sector undertakings (CPSUs) are required to declare a minimum dividend on equity of 20 per cent or a minimum dividend payout of 20 per cent of after-tax profit, whichever is higher, subject to availability of disposable profits.
However, the government as majority shareholder could seek higher dividend from public sectorertakin undgs (PSUs) with large disposable profits or healthy cash reserves. A higher or special dividend may also be considered.
According to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India's (CAG) General Purpose Financial Report of CPSEs, investment by the government in equity of CPSEs registered a net increase of Rs 35,038 crore and loans outstanding increased Rs 5,978 crore during 2017-18 as compared to the previous year.
The CAG also pulled up the government for including the income from investment in SUUTI as part of the disinvestment proceeds leading to overstatement of Rs 1,400 crore.
"Government companies and corporations declared dividend of Rs 70,562 crore during the year 2017-18. Out of this, dividend received/receivable by GoI amounted to Rs 42,229 crore which represented 11.83 per cent return on the total investment by the GoI (Rs 3,57,064 crore) in all government companies and corporations," said the report.
Government companies under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas contributed Rs 28,859 crore, representing 40.90 per cent of the total dividend declared by all government companies and corporations.
There were 184 government companies and corporations with accumulated losses of Rs 1,42,309.28 crore as on March 31, 2018. Of these, the net worth of 77 companies had been completely eroded by their accumulated losses.
As a result, the aggregate net worth of these companies became negative to the extent of Rs 83,122.38 crore as on March 31, 2018. Only 12 out of these 77 companies earned a profit of Rs 1,344.45 crore during the year 2017-18, said the report.
The audit watchdog also reviewed corporate governance in 52 listed CPSEs and found some significant departures from the prescribed guidelines.
The report revealed that in two CPSEs, the non-executive directors constituted less than 50 per cent of the total strength of the board of directors. There was no woman director on the board of MMTC Ltd.
Besides, representation of independent directors in 24 CPSEs was below the required number and there was no independent director on the board of directors of three CPSEs.
Total spend on corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities by 82 CPSEs in 2017-18 was Rs 3,338.60 crore. The petroleum sector spent the highest amount of Rs 1,416.12 crore towards CSR, the report found.
The report deals with 420 government companies and corporations (including 06 statutory corporations) and 165 government-controlled other companies.