The government is proposing to set up a National Investment Board (NIB) to 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 the NIB would be an equivalent to a Cabinet Committee on Investments and it would be headed by the Prime Minister.
He said there were over 100 projects, each involving investment of Rs.1,000 crore or more, that have 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," he 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 clarified that the proposed board will not be in any way a substitute to the existing Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).
Chidambaram said a cabinet note on the NIB has been circulated and a decision on it was yet to be taken.
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 was 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 infrastructure projects, hampering the country's economic growth.