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A technician is pictured inside a desalter plant of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, September 30, 2016.Reuters file

Indian Oil, Oil & Natural Gas Corp and Coal India have emerged as the most profitable public sector undertakings (PSU) for 2016-17, whereas BSNL, Air India and MTNL registered the highest losses, according to a government survey.

The Public Enterprises Survey 2016-17, tabled in parliament on Tuesday, showed that the number of loss-making central enterprises have continued to rise for the third straight year, growing to 82 in the last financial year.

The net loss posted by all 82 loss-making central ventures stood at Rs 250.45 billion, with BSNL, Air India and MTNL incurring 55 percent of the overall losses.

The loss making PSUs also included Hindustan Photo Films Manufacturing Co and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam.

Among the profitable state-owned companies, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, Oil and Natural Gas Corp and Coal India contributed 19.69 percent, 18.45 percent and 14.94 percent, respectively, to the overall profit during 2016-17.

On an aggregate, the net profit of 257 PSUs in the country grew 11.7 percent to Rs 1,27,602 crore in 2016-17, compared with 11.1 percent growth last year.

Oil firms witnessed a sharp jump in profits due to moderation in oil prices and the government's decision to give them full immunity from under-recoveries.

This resulted in Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Mangalore Refinery entering the coveted list of the top ten profit-making PSUs.

The oil PSUs together contributed 47 percent of the total profit by PSUs in 2016-17, up from 37.4 percent the year before.