In a move aimed at putting infrastructure projects on the fast track, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has set up a cabinet committee on infrastructure to clear projects and monitor implementation.
The committee will decide all infrastructure-related proposals relating to energy, railways, national highways, ports, airports, irrigation and communications costing more than Rs 150 crore, an official statement said on Saturday.
“The committee will fast track the implementation of the infrastructure sector projects and monitor performance keeping in mind the mandate of the government,” the statement said. The Prime Minister has been stressing on the significance of investing in infrastructure for the last five years. At the same time, he has warned that quality and capacity of infrastructure could become a severe handicap in realising India's potential.
Shortly after assuming charge as prime minister in 2004, Singh had constituted a committee on infrastructure. The panel—anchored in the planning commission—targeted initiating policies on infrastructure and monitoring implementation of projects.
But the projects had to go to the 33-member Union Cabinet for approvals, significantly slowing down the pace of decision-making. The new cabinet-level committee on infrastructure is aimed at signalling the intent of the government to step on the gas in this sector.
The panel chaired by the Prime Minister — like the cabinet committee on economic affairs — will have 12 other ministers as members including Pranab Mukherjee, Sharad Pawar, Mamata Banerjee, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Dr Farooq Abdullah and Jaipal Reddy.