In a bid to steer in big investments and push India's sagging economic growth, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has lent its shoulder to a proposal for setting up a National Investment Board/Authority, notwithstanding concerns raised by environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan.
In an internal PMO note, a copy of which is available with HT, C Rangarajan, chairman of the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council, has underlined the need to set up the NIB, as envisaged by finance minister
P Chidambaram, at the earliest to help clear pending mega investment proposals within a stipulated time.
Nearly a dozen big ticket proposals entailing investment in excess of Rs. 100,000 crore are in a limbo for want of approvals.
Setting up an NIB would send the right signals to investors, and boost growth and generate jobs.
"The country strongly needs a single body like NIB to clear big ticket investment proposals that usually get stuck due to procedural delays, be it lack of environmental clearance or land approvals," said a senior PMO official.
He said a note for the cabinet has also been readied, and the proposal is likely to be moved in the next few days.
Natarajan had opposed Chidambaram's proposal on the grounds that an NIB would only duplicate the efforts of ministries, and does not have any constitutional authority. She had written to the Prime Minister in this connection.
Officials said that NIB will be above all apex bodies such as the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) and Empowered Committee of Secretaries (ECs).
It will act as a final body for clearing all big investment proposals, and no single ministry will have any authority to overrule its decisions.