Single-window Solution for Mega Projects

Modi expands role of Project Monitoring Group to deal with clearance-related issues across ministries, empowers it to suggest policy changes.

Published: 08th June 2014 07:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th June 2014 07:48 AM   |  A+A-


NEW DELHI: In a move that will go a long way in boosting the economic and investment climate in the country, the Narendra Modi government is in the process of bringing project clearances related to all ministries under one umbrella. The NDA government is set to endow a much bigger role to UPA brainchild Project Monitoring Group (PMG) under the Cabinet Secretariat by making it a one-stop shop for boosting investment and empowering it to iron out policy flaws that stall infrastructure projects.

The government seems to have learnt a lesson from the UPA, which struggled in its second innings to reap investment benefits due to factors like slow decision making, inter-ministerial rifts, Centre-State differences, red tape and bottlenecks in project clearance. Modi has included all the above factors in his 10-point agenda for the government to take quick remedial measures and put the economy back on track.

The PMG is set to become a single interface between all big infrastructure ministries like Power, Coal, Railways, Highways and Road Transport and Environment. All issues related to the respective ministries will come to the PMG, headed by an additional secretary, and it will be empowered to sort out differences among various ministries and arrive at a suitable conclusion to cut delays.       

The government may also allow the PMG to take decisions on policy-level changes required in various ministries in order to streamline the process of project clearances and attract investment. Decisions related to policy changes made by the PMG in consultation with all stakeholders, including private players, would then directly go the Cabinet for final approval. “The PMG has got a go-ahead from appropriate levels in the new government to carry forward its work of sorting issues related to big infrastructure projects. We don’t know as of now if its nomenclature would change or there will be organisational changes but it is going to play a major role,” said a top government official.

Constituted by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in June 2013 to clear big-ticket projects, the PMG has been successful in clearing 152 big infrastructure projects worth over Rs 5 lakh crore.  An investment of around Rs 3.2 lakh crore has already been made by industry. It still has 286 projects worth Rs 14 lakh crore in its kitty for finding solutions. The PMG is mandated to accept projects over Rs 1,000 crore of investments.

Power and coal ministries are the biggest beneficiaries of the measures taken by PMG as projects over `4 lakh crore related to both ministries have been cleared in the last year.  Other benefactors include Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Railways and Highways.

The PMG has already got a go ahead from the government to collate details of tangible output in terms of production of goods, services, power generation or coal production of the projects cleared by it in the last one year. Earlier, the mandate for monitoring the physical achievement was with the Department of Financial Services under the Finance Ministry.

The success of the PMG has also caught the attention of the states with at least 14 of them in the process of starting a similar system at the State level. The PMG has trained state officials to handle the projects with investments ranging from Rs 100 crore to Rs 1,000 crore at their levels. Both systems will work in tandem and if there are issues related to Central ministries in the State, they will automatically come to the PMG for removing the obstacles. The PMG has been hailed by the industry with FICCI and CII demanding to reduce the investment limit of projects handled by it from Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 500 crore.


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