While India's state-owned enterprises are widely believed to be inefficient, there is a dearth of studies that document such inefficiency on any rigorous basis. Yet, since improvement in firm efficiency is one of the basic objectives of privatization, it is important to assess whether efficiency is indeed lower in the public sector than in the private sector. This paper compares the performance of state-owned enterprises with those of private sector firms in respect of technical efficiency. The comparison is made in eight different sectors over the period 1991-92 to 1998-99. We measure technical efficiency using the method of Data Envelopment Analysis. Judging by the average levels of technical efficiency, no conclusive evidence of superior performance on the part of the private sector is found.