Govt likely to clear proposal to set up NIB in 3 weeks

A Cabinet note in this regard has already been circulated to ministries concerned.

Updated: Nov 10, 2012, 19:22 PM IST

Mumbai: The government is likely to approve in the next two-three weeks, the proposal to set up National Investment Board (NIB) for fast-tracking clearance to large infrastructure projects, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said on Saturday.

"There is a draft Cabinet note proposing it (NIB). Some ministries have opposed it. It is going through some official method of resolving those issues. My hope is that it will come to the Cabinet soon. Soon means week or may be two weeks," Ahluwalia said at ET Awards function here.

Supporting the proposal to set up NIB, he said, "We need an overarching mechanism. We categorically feel that the present system is dysfunctional. Finance Minister has suggested a specific way of doing that (by setting up NIB)".

"I do think that we should definitely do it. If you want opinion, I think it should be done. I cannot second guess what Cabinet will do but we will know it in two or three weeks time," he added

As per the plan, the NIB would be headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. A Cabinet note in this regard has already been circulated to ministries concerned. However, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan had raised objections to the NIB proposal.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, she had said the manner in which changes have been sought on the issue of granting project approvals was disturbing and wondered why NIB should step in when decisions like green clearances have to be given by her Ministry.

On allegations of policy logjam, he said, "I think the term 'policy paralysis' has become common parlance...It exists in other countries".

According to Ahluwalia it is happening because of coalition government is trying hard to get consensus on policy.

Citing the instance of the government's decision on FDI in retail, he said that there is noting wrong in delaying the decision little bit to reach a consensus.

However, Ahluwalia admitted that it is quite tough testing time for the policy and expressed hope that if India act on this firmly and with conviction, it will bring the growth rate back.

"The inherent capacity of the economy to get it done is not indulge. We will walk the talk," he added.