New panel to fast-track infrastructure projects
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The cabinet approved the creation of a special panel on Thursday with watered-down powers to speed up the notoriously slow implementation of big-ticket infrastructure projects.
The panel, to be chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will fast-track projects worth 10 billion rupees or more, said one minister who attended the cabinet meeting and who declined to be named.
The government hopes the new body will help to increase investment in an economy that is likely to slow in fiscal 2012/13 to its worst pace in a decade. Singh's chief economic adviser sees full-year growth of 5.5 percent to 6 percent.
Infrastructure companies have pressed for the creation of such a board to speed up hundreds of delayed projects. Regulatory hurdles, such as delayed land acquisition and environmental clearances, have held up projects worth over 2 trillion rupees in the road, power, coal and mining sectors alone, according to government data.
However, due to opposition from within the government, the powers of the panel have been diluted and it will not be able to directly clear the projects.
It will be up to individual ministries to approve projects, but where there are delays, the new panel will have the authority to intervene. It will not, however, be able to overturn any decisions made by the Environment Ministry.
Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan had stalled the creation of the panel for months, calling it authoritarian.
The watering down of the panel's powers, which will likely disappoint investors, underscore the government's struggle to push a reform agenda aimed at reviving growth.
Red tape can delay projects for years or, in the worst cases, scupper them altogether. Bureaucracy and fights between industry and farmers over land have prevented India from plugging huge power shortages and upgrading its decrepit transport network.
A typical infrastructure project requires clearances from 19 federal ministries and, on average, 56 authorisations on issues ranging from the environment to defence. The whole process takes up to 24 months.
(Additional reporting by Manoj Kumar; editing by Stephen Nisbet)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this
- In his native Alabama, Apple CEO's announcement he is gay prompts discomfort for some
- Air strikes hit Kobani as Kurdish peshmerga prepare to enter
- Islamic State fighters kill 220 Iraqis from tribe that opposed them
- Europe won't recognise vote in eastern Ukraine, Merkel tells Putin
- SEBI piles pressure on Sahara to sell overseas hotels
Shares Hit Record
The BSE Sensex and Nifty surged to record highs for a second consecutive session on Friday after Bank of Japan's surprise expansion of its massive stimulus programme raised hopes for additional foreign inflows, boosting blue-chips such as Larsen & Toubro. Full Article
China's shadow banking sector growing rapidly, third largest in world - FSB. Full Article