PM’s mechanism on mega projects

NEW DELHI, June 1:
Against the backdrop of slowing economy and perception of policy paralysis, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today sought to give a push to mega projects of over Rs 1,000 crore by putting in place a mechanism to track their progress and address hurdles.
Waking up to delays caused to large projects on account of clearances, Singh announced that the Investment Tracking System would submit quarterly reports so that corrective measures could be taken to ensure speedy implementation.
While implementation of public sector projects of over Rs 1,000 crore will be tracked by the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council, those in the private sector would be monitored by the Department of Financial Services in the Ministry of Finance, a statement from Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said.
The decision to set up the tracking system is in “the context of delays faced by projects on multiple fronts – security clearances, environmental clearances, other clearances, land related matters, etc.”, the statement said.
It said issues would be identified and corrective action taken wherever found necessary.
“While existing rules and laws have to be followed, it was widely felt that a lot of the delay is avoidable if only there is a will to resolve matters,” it added.
The decision to fast track projects involving high investment is expected provide fresh impetus to the economy, which is grappling with slowdown.
The announcement came a day after fresh figures showed that the growth rate during 2011-12 slipped to a nine-year low of 6.5 per cent mainly because of slowdown in manufacturing and poor investment. The growth rate in March quarter slipped to 5.3 per cent.
Several mega projects, including Posco’s proposed USD 12-billion steel plant in Odisha, have been hanging fire because of regulatory clearances and land acquisition issues.
The other projects facing delays include USD 90-billion Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project, Jaitapur Nuclear Power plant and ultra mega power projects (UMPP).
Issues concerning delay in implementation of projects was raised by India Inc at the last meeting of Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Industry in December.
Through this tracking mechanism, projects would be periodically reviewed for any delays and specific or systemic issues will be identified for resolution, the statement said.
The investment rate during 2011-12 declined to 29.5 per cent, from over 30 per cent a year ago.
Even Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had attributed the slowdown in economic growth to environmental issues and expressed hope that the situation would improve going forward. (PTI)