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PM Sets Up Investment Tracking System

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Amid declining growth rate and the need to arrest economic slowdown, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday approved setting up of an Investment Tracking System to ensure speedy implementation of mega projects envisaging outlay of over Rs 1,000 crore.

The proposed mechanism is aimed at addressing delays in implementation of projects, said a statement  from Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

While implementation of public sector projects of over Rs 1,000 crore will be tracked by the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council, those in the private sector would be monitored by the Department of Financial Services in the Ministry of Finance.

The decision to fast track investments would provide fresh impetus to the economy, which is grappling with slowdown. The economic growth rate during 2011-12 slipped to a nine-year low of 6.5 per cent mainly because of slowdown in manufacturing and poor investment.

Several mega projects, including Posco's proposed $12-billion steel plant in Orissa, has been hanging fire because of regulatory clearances and land acquisition issues.

The decision to set up Investment Tracking System, the statement said, is in "the context of delays faced by projects on multiple fronts - security clearances, environmental clearances, other clearances,  land related matters, etc."

Issues concerning delay in implementation of projects was raised by India Inc at the last meeting of  Prime Minister's Council on Trade and Industry in December.

The National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council and the Department of Financial Services would have to submit a quarterly report to the PMO of all projects monitored and issues that need to be resolved.

Through this tracking mechanism, projects would be periodically reviewed for any delays and specific or systemic issues will be identified for resolution, the statement said.

"While existing rules and laws have to be followed, it was widely felt that a lot of the delay is avoidable if only there is a will to resolve matters," it added.

The investment rate during 2011-12 declined to 29.5 per cent, from over 30 per cent a year ago.

Even Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had attributed the slowdown in economic growth to environmental issues and expressed hope that the situation would improve going forward.