Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday said a committee had been appointed to "identify and help" re-start as many as 215 large projects worth Rs 7 lakh crore which have been stalled for years and assured each of these projects would be off the ground at the earliest. "I am happy to inform you that the Prime Minister today approved the appointment of Anil Swarup from the Cabinet Secretariat as the head of a panel to identify and help restart the 215 large projects that have been stalled for one reason or other for years. I hope with this panel, likely to be constituted in a couple of days, we will be able to get these projects worth Rs 7 trillion identified and get started. Once these projects start, we will see the results on investment in the remaining three quarters of this financial year," Chidambaram told the 66th annual general meeting of the Indian Banks' Association in Mumbai. He assured each of these projects will be tracked and get implemented on a time-bound manner.
Noting that banks have already extended Rs 53,000 crore to these projects, the Finance Minister said, he wants the bankers to closely work this panel, because it is in their interest that these projects get off the ground as this is their own money that is stuck. The minister also said the Cabinet would finalise some of the crucial pending decisions in the four key sectors, roads, coal, oil & gas and fertilisers, in the next three to four days, but did not offer details. Stating that nearly 340 projects worth Rs 10 lakh crore are stuck, he said, his meetings with industrialists and banks in the past few months in Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai have made him constitute this panel, because he understands the concerns of the entrepreneurs whose monies are stuck in these projects. Giving a break-up of the stalled projects, he said while 215 are large projects worth Rs 7 lakh crore, 126 stuck projects are medium worth Rs 3.5 lakh crore. Chidambaram said these projects are stalled due to a host of reasons such as forest clearance issues and pollution concerns. However, he said that, "I am confident that these are not insurmountable problems. All we need is to work together and revive our animal spirits by getting these projects kick-started and then an efficient system can surely resolve these issues."