Montek backs FM plan to set up an investment board

Tags: News
After stringent opposition from environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan, finance minister P Chidambaram has found an ally in Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Planning Commission deputy chairman, who has come out openly in favour of setting up the National Investment Board (NIB) to expedite infrastructure projects. The proposal is expected to go to the cabinet shortly.

“We have seen the proposal for setting up the National Investment Board and I am in favour of it. I assume that it will soon come to cabinet for approval,” Ahluwalia said. He spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a symposium on India-Japan strategic partnership, jointly organised by CII and the Japanese embassy.

Recently, Chidambaram too had said that the proposal to set up the NIB for expediting clearance to large projects would soon come up for approval before the cabinet. “The cabinet note is with the cabinet secretariat and the prime minister’s office. It will be listed before the cabinet at a time when the PM decides it should be listed,” he had said

Concerned over the delays in implementation of several mega projects, Chidambaram had recently proposed setting up of NIB under the prime minister to clear large projects. This would include projects wh­ere the investment is over Rs 1,000 crore or upwards in sectors like roads, mining, power, petroleum, natural gas, ports and railways.

According to the note, the board will be empowered to set timeframe to be followed by respective ministries for achieving milestones in various projects. If the ministries fail to achieve the time-bound targets such as grant of licenses, permissions, and approvals, such projects will be taken over by the board. Constitution of such a body has become necessary in the wake of delay in statutory clearances, as a result of which several large projects involving investments of up to Rs 1.5 lakh crore are being held up in the country.

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