Cabinet approves setting up of national investment panel
The union cabinet here Thursday approved the proposal to set up a National Investment Board (NIB) that would monitor and advise ministries on expediting projects with investments of Rs.1,000 crore.
The NIB has been renamed and would formally be known as the Cabinet Committee on Investments (CCI). It will be chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Last week the cabinet had deferred the decision to establish the NIB.
According to sources, the CCI will not be an appellate authority, and some doubts raised by the environment ministry on this score have been settled.
Recently, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram had said that the cabinet will take up the issue of setting up the NIB, which is being deemed as crucial for fast tracking infrastructure projects stuck for various clearances.
He noted that there were over 100 projects, each involving investments 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.
Similar arrangements were in place in countries like Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
The proposed NIB was to be an equivalent to the Cabinet Committee on Investments but not in any way a substitute to the existing Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
However, in October Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said that her ministry had some reservations on the NIB.
Chidambaram had said on Nov 30 that 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 and hampering the country's growth.