The war over the creation of a National Investment Board (NIB), meant for one-stop clearance to all the infrastructure projects above Rs.1,000 crore, continues to simmer with the Power Ministry now opposing putting the NIB under the Finance Ministry.

In a note sent in response to the creation of the NIB, the Power Ministry has asserted that it wants the NIB to be placed under the Prime Ministers Office (PMO) and not under the Department of Finance Affairs of the Finance Ministry as originally proposed. In addition, it has said NIB should not be confined to sanctioning and monitoring projects but should also ensure them various clearances.

“The NIB should work for securing all the clearances for the project and also ensure that the entire project is completed within the given budget and time without any cost or time overrun,” the Power Ministry note states.

The creation of the NIB has already run into rough weather with the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) strongly opposing giving up its right to grant clearances to such big projects. The Tribal Affairs Ministry has also opposed any kind of single window clearance for such projects. Earlier, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry had opposed the idea mooted by the PMO to create a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for granting one-stop clearances to the future oil and gas projects put on auction. Officials in the know of the developments said after the creation of NIB, the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure (CCI) would stand dismantled. “The CCI would stand dissolved and all the power of CCI would vest with the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs except for those projects/sectors that are notified under NIB,’’ according to the Cabinet note accessed by The Hindu.

In addition, to give power to NIB, the government is moving the Cabinet to seek amendments to the Allocation of Business Rules 1961.

The Cabinet note states: “The presence of oversight body will also bring accountability in the government approval process and will ensure transparency and efficiency besides optimisation of the government expenditure.”

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