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How Modi plans to speed up projects

June 10, 2014 15:11 IST

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasising the need to kick-start investment in the country, the project monitoring group (PMG) under the Cabinet Secretariat has asked various government departments to start monitoring projects for which clearances have been facilitated through this mechanism.

The onus of monitoring has shifted from the department of financial services in the finance ministry to the PMG, under directions from the new government.

One hundred and fifty-two projects involving a total investment of Rs 5.3-lakh crore have been facilitated through the intervention of PMG and the Cabinet Committee on Investment.

Anil Swarup, additional secretary and head of PMG, presided over an inter-ministerial meeting on Monday to put in place a new mechanism to monitor these projects. This is to see if the projects have taken off at the ground level.

Earlier this month, the PMG had circulated a performa to these ministries seeking information which would be subsequently uploaded on a portal created last year for projects that are stuck, Swarup told Business Standard.

A new page called 'the investment monitoring module' has been created in the portal to enter additional information. Ministries have been asked to get companies executing projects whose hurdles have been removed, to upload entries on the page.

The required details include physical achievement in terms of production of goods and services or things such as power generation. 

Apart from seeking the details of project cost and investments made so far, it seeks details of the date of commissioning and commercial operation in cases where projects have started functioning. Besides, the details of any other unresolved issues are also sought. 

For projects where execution is still under progress even after all clearances are in place, details such as date of financial closure, expected date of commissioning, and physical progress have been sought. 

Information collected through the new module would help the government in assessing success in terms of actual implementation. 

PMG operates under the Cabinet Committee on Investment, headed by the Prime Minister. 

Although CCI was a United Progressive Alliance creation, the National Democratic Alliance government has so far continued with it since its main focus is on performance through a better investment climate and kickstarting stalled projects. 

"It is felt that mere clearances are not sufficient. So far, we were assuming that if project promoters are not coming back with complaints, then the projects have taken off but now we are keeping track of whether actual economic activity has started," said Swarup.

Under the existing mechanism created by PMG, a project developer goes to the portal and fills in the details, indicating the "sponsoring ministry". 

A joint secretary in this ministry, under whose administrative control the project falls, accepts the project. This usually takes one week.

Thereafter, the PMG accepts the project and the issues raised by the developer go to the recipient ministries through separate mailers for their comments. 

After acceptance by the sponsoring ministry, the project is taken up at a meeting of a sub-group.

Sponsoring ministry is the line ministry while recipient ministry is a euphemism used for the one sitting on clearances. PMG is headed by Swarup and has representation from 18 ministries.

There are 12 sub-groups - each headed by Swarup again, with representatives of the project developer and joint secretaries in the sponsoring and recipient ministries as members. The template of PMG has been adopted by a number of states including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

By June-end, about 10 states would have a similar mechanism dealing with projects costing Rs 10 crore to Rs 1,000 crore, Swarup said. Projects above that are being handled by PMG. 

Although CCI was a United Progressive Alliance creation, the National Democratic Alliance government has so far continued with it since its main focus is on performance through a better investment climate and kickstarting stalled projects. 

"It is felt that mere clearances are not sufficient. So far, we were assuming that if project promoters are not coming back with complaints, then the projects have taken off but now we are keeping track of whether actual economic activity has started," said Swarup. 

Under the existing mechanism created by PMG, a project developer goes to the portal and fills in the details, indicating the "sponsoring ministry". A joint secretary in this ministry, under whose administrative control the project falls, accepts the project.

This usually takes one week. Thereafter, the PMG accepts the project and the issues raised by the developer go to the recipient ministries through separate mailers for their comments. 

After acceptance by the sponsoring ministry, the project is taken up at a meeting of a sub-group. Sponsoring ministry is the line ministry while recipient ministry is a euphemism used for the one sitting on clearances.

PMG is headed by Swarup and has representation from 18 ministries. There are 12 sub-groups - each headed by Swarup again, with representatives of the project developer and joint secretaries in the sponsoring and recipient ministries as members. 

The template of PMG has been adopted by a number of states including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. By June-end, about 10 states would have a similar mechanism dealing with projects costing Rs 10 crore to Rs 1,000 crore, Swarup said. Projects above that are being handled by PMG.

Project Monitoring Module

  • The onus of monitoring projects has shifted from the Department of Financial Services in the finance ministry to PMG
  • One hundred and fifty-two projects involving a total investment of Rs 5.3 lakh crore have been facilitated through the intervention of PMG and the Cabinet Committee on Investment
  • A new page called 'the investment monitoring module' has been created in the project-monitoring portal created last year to enter additional information
  • Ministries have been asked to get companies executing projects whose hurdles have been removed, to upload entries on the page
  • Apart from seeking the details of project cost and investments made so far, the page seeks details of the date of commissioning and commercial operation for projects
  • For cleared projects, details such as date of financial closure, expected date of commissioning, and physical progress have been sought
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