iconimg Sunday, August 02, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, December 22, 2013
Admitting that arbitrary decision was a reason for delay in project approvals, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday announced that the government was considering a Natural Resource Investment Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to fasten the clearance process.

“The (SPV) idea is to obtain all clearance before auctioning of projects to private players. This is powerful and innovative idea,” he said while addressing the annual general body meeting Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

In a related development, chairman of Xpro India Ltd, Sidharth Birla, on Saturday, took over as the president of FICCI succeeding HSBC India Country Head Naina Lal Kidwai. Chairperson and MD of Bharat Hotels Jyotsna Suri has been elected senior vice-president, and chairman of Ambuja Neotia group Harshavardhan Neotia vice-president of FICCI after its 86 annual general meeting here.

Gandhi said that “environmental and social damage” must be avoided but added that decisions must be “transparent, timely and fair”. Responding to a question on delay in environmental clearance Gandhi said one could not allow a “wholesale plunder” of the environment.

“There is a difference between environmental damage that is recoverable and one that is not recoverable. If you destroy the Himalayas, that is not recoverable,” he said. “But there is a sustainable model. There is a middle path. We must find the balance.”

Gandhi also said social progress was not at odds with economic growth. “Poverty cannot be fought without growth. Maintaining robust growth has enabled the UPA Government to invest in people,” he said.