PM sets up panel to monitor large projects

New Delhi, June 13 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has set up a panel to monitor the implementation of large investment projects.

Members of the panel include Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal and Road Transport Minister C.P. Joshi, among others.

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Thursday, a meeting of the panel took place earlier this month. The meeting was chaired by the prime minister.

"The prime minister directed that a special cell be created immediately in the cabinet secretariat. This cell would be in the nature of a project monitoring group for all large projects, both public and private and would pro-actively pursue them so that these investment projects are commissioned on time," it said.

"Suitable officers may be identified at the earliest and priority projects may be quickly identified to be taken for tracking," the statement said.

The prime minister has directed the cabinet secretariat to hold a meeting with chief secretaries of states to have state governments on board with the new mechanism.

During the meeting, Chidambaram said his ministry has compiled a list of about 215 such projects, where the banks have already funded more than Rs.7 lakh crore.

The minister also highlighted the time and cost overruns being faced by these projects as well as the action required to remove the implementation bottlenecks, according to the PMO statement.

Chidambaram pointed out that while some of bottlenecks being faced are in the domain of regulatory authorities at the central level, a large number of impediments are those that lie in the domain of state governments, and local bodies.

The finance minister emphasised on the need for "having an institutional mechanism which has sufficient authority, to coordinate with the concerned authorities and get these projects moving on the ground."

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