The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), on Thursday, announced the setting up of a Project Clearance Board under the Cabinet Secretary to speed up clearances for infrastructure and energy projects.

Citing the example of oil and gas blocks auctioned under the New Exploration Licence Policy (NELP), the PMO said in a statement that over 70 blocks awarded under NELP rounds were facing issues of clearances, badly hurting the progress of exploration activity. Similar problems were faced in ports and infrastructure sectors, too. “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. Therefore, a mechanism is required to be put in place for getting fast regulatory clearances,’’ the statement added.

Stressing the need for putting in place institutionalised mechanism for issuing clearances in a time-bound manner, it said the matter required setting up of a board on the lines of the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) where foreign investment clearances were given through regular meetings.

The Project Clearance Board will include representatives from the Ministries of Home, Defence, Environment and Forests, Commerce, Coal, Department of Space and other infrastructure and energy-related Ministries/Departments.

The Board 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. All the Ministries would report to this Board the status of issuing of clearances after following their internal due diligence processes, the statement added.

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