20 Jul 2012

PMO move to speed up Project Clearance

One of the biggest hurdles to speedy implementation of projects is the delays faced by project implementing agencies and private firms with concessions, in obtaining security related clearances from many agencies. For example, progress in exploration work in over 70 oil blocks awarded under the NELP has slowed down due to lack of clearances. There are similar problems in other areas such as Ports and infrastructure sectors. 

Therefore, there is a need to have an institutionalised mechanism for issuing clearances in a time-bound manner. There is already a model for clearing foreign investments in the form of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) where foreign investment clearances are given through regular meetings of the FIPB under the Department of Economic Affairs. A need for a similar mechanism was felt for other clearances so that the issue of delayed clearances is resolved. 

In a meeting held in PMO to review the status of clearances of Oil & Gas Blocks awarded under the NELP, it was decided that a Project Clearance Board along the lines of FIPB, would be constituted under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary for review and issue of one-time clearances, including security clearance. This Board will include representatives from the Ministries of Home, Defence, Environment & Forests, Commerce, Coal, D/o Space and other infrastructure and energy related Ministries/ Departments. 

It will meet regularly on a monthly basis to review the status of clearances for energy and infrastructure projects and expedite issuing of security and other clearances. Ministries would report to this Board the status of issuing of clearances after following their internal due diligence processes. 

For the Petroleum & Natural Gas sector, the special cell for clearances being set up in DGH will act as the secretariat. A common mechanism for all sectors will be evolved soon and the Board will be set up in the coming weeks. 

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