To expedite project implementation, the government on Thursday announced a single-window mechanism under the Cabinet secretary for review and issue of clearances associated with major projects.
After putting in place a problem-resolution mechanism for infrastructure projects and an investment tracking system for projects over Rs 1,000 crore directly under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the government has decided to set up a project clearance board, on the lines of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), chaired by the Cabinet secretary, for review and issue of one-time clearances, including security clearance.
The Board will include representatives from the ministries of home, defence, environment and forests, commerce, coal, departmenmt of space and other infrastructure and energy-related ministries and departments. The decision was taken at a meeting held at the PMO to review the status of clearances of oil and gas blocks awarded under the New Exploration Licensing Policy.
The Board will meet monthly. Ministries would report to the Board on the status of clearances after following their internal processes.
For the petroleum and natural gas sector, the special cell for clearances being set up in the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons will act as the secretariat. A common mechanism for all sectors will be evolved soon and the Board set up in the coming weeks, said a government.
Explaining the need for such an entity, the PMO said one of the biggest hurdles to speedy implementation of projects was the delays faced by project implementing agencies and private companies with concessions, in obtaining security-related clearances from diverse agencies.
“For example, progress in exploration work in over 70 oil blocks awarded under Nelp has slowed due to lack of clearances. There are similar problems in other areas such as ports and infrastructure sectors,” it stressed.
There was a need to have an institutionalised mechanism for issuing time-bound clearances on the lines of the model for clearing foreign investments in the form of the FIPB, where foreign investment clearances were given through regular meetings, outlined the PMO. “A need for a similar mechanism was felt for other clearances, so that the issue of delayed clearances is resolved.”