The government on Friday announced the setting up of an investment-tracking mechanism to expedite the implementation of big-ticket projects.
Within 24 hours of the release of economic growth data, which turned out worse than expected, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said, “In order to address the issue of major investment projects being delayed for a variety of reasons, the Prime Minister has approved the setting up of an Investment Tracking System to ensure the speedy implementation of such projects.”
According to a Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (Mospi) report of September last year, 167 central sector projects called mega projects, costing Rs 1,000 crore and above, were being monitored by it. The highest number of projects were of power (45), petroleum (36) and railways (31).
|PMO STEPS IN
|* Stung by weak economic numbers, PMO decides to ensure speedy implementation of big-ticket projects
|* National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council to track public sector projects; Department of Financial Services to do so for private sector projects
|* Quarterly statements to be submitted on projects monitored and issues that need resolution
|* PMO to take corrective action wherever necessary
Under the newly instituted mechanism, the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC) will track all public sector projects with an investment of Rs 1,000 crore and above.
The council will submit a quarterly statement of all projects monitored and any issue that needs resolution, either systemically or individually. In case of private sector projects, the Department of Financial Services (DFS) will monitor projects with an investment of Rs 1,000 crore and above.
The department would use data available with the banking sector for this purpose and submit a quarterly statement of all projects monitored and issues identified that need resolution, either with the help of different associated agencies or individually.
According to the PMO, projects will be periodically reviewed for any delay and specific or systemic issues will be identified for resolution through the mechanism. “Corrective action will be taken wherever found necessary,” the PMO said in an official release. The issue had come up in a meeting of the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Industry held in December. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had assured industry captains that major projects would be specially tracked to take them forward quickly.
That was in the context of delays faced by projects on multiple fronts — security clearances, environmental clearances, other clearances and land-related matters.
The PMO, however, clearly indicated the mechanism would look at expediting the implementation of projects under the existing norms. “While existing rules and laws have to be followed, it was widely felt that a lot of the delays were avoidable if only there was a will to resolve matters,” it said.
Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Pulok Chatterji has already held several meetings to perk investment in the infrastructure sector — involving projects in roads, railways, waterways, ports and tourism — in the past few months.
Cash-rich public sector enterprises have also been asked to invest in infrastructure sector projects associated with their lines of business.
Though efforts to solve the problems of the power sector have yielded some results, any significant improvement in the investment scenario is still to be seen.