New Delhi, Nov 30 (IANS) The union cabinet will decide on the proposal to set up a National Investment Board (NIB) that would monitor and advise ministries on expediting projects entailing investments of more than Rs.1,000 crore, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said Friday.
Replying to questions in the Lok Sabha, Chidambaram said a cabinet note on the NIB to be headed by the prime minister had been circulated. "The cabinet's decision will be final."
He said there were over 100 projects, each involving investment of Rs.1,000 crore or more, that had been delayed for various reasons.
"Our problem is not conceptualising projects. Our problem lies in getting numerous clearances and getting the projects off the ground within a reasonable time," the finance minister said.
"The NIB will monitor projects, advise ministries and help ministries concerned take a decision," he added.
Chidambaram said similar arrangements were in place in countries like Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
He said the NIB would be an equivalent to a Cabinet Committee on Investments and it will not in any way be a substitute to the existing Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
Three days back, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took stock of the performance of key infrastructure sectors and pushed for completion of railways, roads and ports projects that are vital for reviving economic growth.
Chidambaram's statement came a day after he made a similar statement though a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.
It said, "A proposal is under consideration for constitution of a cabinet committee with Prime Minister as the chairman to expedite decisions on approvals/clearances for implementation of projects. It is expected that the government would take an early decision on the proposal."
Earlier in October, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan had said that her ministry had some reservations on the NIB.
Chidambaram said views of various ministries, including the ministry of environment and forests, had been mentioned in the draft cabinet note.
"The environment ministry has raised some concerns which have been added to the cabinet note. The cabinet's decision will be final," he said.
The green ministry has been held responsible by the industry and many other ministries like coal and highways for delaying projects, hampering the country's growth.
-- Indo-Asian News Service