The PMO decided to set up the Project Clearance Board against the backdrop of several projects, including 70 in oil and natural gas sector, facing delays due to lack of necessary clearances
New Delhi: In a major move to boost investor confidence, the Indian government has decided to set up a high-powered board to ensure speedy 'one-time' clearances to projects in energy and infrastructure sectors and address the problems in getting regulatory permissions, reports PTI.
The decision to set up the Project Clearance Board on the lines of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) was taken by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) against the backdrop of several projects, including 70 in oil and natural gas sector, facing delays because of lack of necessary clearances.
The Board, to be headed by the Cabinet Secretary, will include representatives from the Ministries of Home, Defence, Environment & Forests, Commerce, Coal, Department of Space and other infrastructure and energy related Ministries or Departments, a PMO statement said.
"In a meeting held in PMO to review the status of clearances of Oil & Gas Blocks awarded under the NELP, it was decided that a Project Clearance Board along the lines of FIPB, would be constituted under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary for review and issue of one-time clearances, including security clearance," it said.
The Board will meet on a monthly basis to review the status of clearances for energy and infrastructure projects and expedite issuing of security and other clearances.
It noted that "one of the biggest hurdles" to speedy implementation of projects is the delays faced by project implementing agencies and private firms with concessions, in obtaining security related clearances from many agencies.
It cited the example of progress in exploration work in over 70 oil blocks awarded under the NELP which has slowed down due to lack of clearances. There are similar problems in other areas such as Ports and infrastructure sectors, it said.
The PMO said the decision to set up the Board was taken as there is "a need to have an institutionalised mechanism for issuing clearances in a time-bound manner".
"There is already a model for clearing foreign investments in the form of the FIPB where foreign investment clearances are given through regular meetings of the FIPB under the Department of Economic Affairs," the PMO statement said.
"A need for a similar mechanism was felt for other clearances so that the issue of delayed clearances is resolved," it said.
Ministries would report to this Board the status of issuing of clearances after following their internal due diligence processes.
For the Petroleum & Natural Gas sector, the special cell for clearances being set up in DGH will act as the secretariat, the statement said.
A common mechanism for all sectors will be evolved soon and the Board will be set up in the coming weeks.
The decision to set up the board comes at a time when the government is facing allegations of policy paralysis and there are apprehensions among foreign investors.
US President Barack Obama had told PTI last week that investment climate in India had deteriorated.
The PMO announcement comes on a day Tata group Chairman Ratan Tata said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must restore government credibility and place the country on a growth path once again by "removing roadblocks".