In an attempt to get core sector projects off the ground, the government has constituted a 13-member Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure, which will be headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The committee will deliberate all infrastructure proposals of over Rs 150 crore (Rs 1.5 billion), specifically those in the energy, railway, road, ports, airport, telecommunication, information technology, irrigation, housing and urban development sectors. Special emphasis will be paid on rural housing and urban slum clearance.
It will take up fiscal, financial, institutional and legal measures required to enhance investment in the sector, look for ways to facilitate private investment in infrastructure, lay down annual performance targets for the various sectors and review the progress.
Besides Prime Minister Singh, Pranab Mukherjee, Sharad Pawar, Mamata Banerjee, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Farooq Abdullah, Jaipal Reddy, Kamal Nath, A Raja, C P Joshi, Kumari Selja, G K Vasan, Pawan Kumar Bansal are the members of the committee.
The government had constituted a committee on infrastructure headed by Prime Minister Singh on August 31, 2004, to oversee all large infrastructure projects. That committee had as its members Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Prime Minister' Economic Advisory Council Chairman C Rangarajan and three members of the Planning Commission. The new committee will have Ahluwalia along with Minister of State Prithviraj Chavan and Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel as special invitees.Sector experts said this was a welcome move, though more needed to be done. "The committee might help in resolving financing issues and clearing glitches in implementation. Nuclear projects should have been included in its domain," said Gammon India Additional Vice-president Umesh Gupta.