As India is set to shell out an additional Rs 1,24,000 crore due to delay in projects, the ministry of statistics and programme implementation wants state governments to get their act together and reduce delays.
The money is almost one-third of India plan budget for financial year 2011-12 and could be enough to provide food grains to 30 crore poor across the country for two years. As per the ministry latest report, of the 567 projects costing more than R150 crore, 375 projects reported delays in the range of a month to 72 months. The sectors evaluated were coal, steel, petroleum, power, railways, road transport and highways and telecommunication."The total overrun of these projects worth R5,92,535 crore was about 20 crore because of the delays," the report, submitted to all government ministries this week, said. Only 135 projects are progressing towards completion on time. While 295 projects were behind schedule even in September 2010, the ministry’s report said 80 other projects reported additional delays, which was a cause of concern.
“We need a pro-active intervention by the state governments at the highest level,” programme implementation minister MS Gill said in a letter written to chief ministers of all states. He has suggested that a high powered committee under the Chief Secretary be constituted immediately with representation from state and central agencies to look into the delays. The major reasons for the delays identified were land acquisition, getting environment clearance, protest by local people, incomplete revenue records and lack of coordination between different agencies.
“The committee should meet once in four months to sort the pending issues,’ Gill said, while adding that in 50% cases of delay the state governments are responsible. The minister was of the view that if the delays continue, India would find it difficult to grow at 8-9 % of the GDP every year and infrastructure is a key driver for the economy.
“Anytime and cost overrun in implementation of these projects would be detrimental for progress of the country,” he said.
Even the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance had expressed concern over huge delay in the projects costing the exchequer dearly.