Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Tuesday announced the setting up of a high level committee of State industry ministers to suggest simplification of procedures to accelerate investment and industrial growth in the country.

The committee, consisting of seven State industry ministers including those of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, has been asked to simplify and rationalise the licensing and clearance procedures required to start a business. The committee has been mandated to prepare guidelines for creation of industrial land banks consisting of waste and fallow lands, an official statement said.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma had last month announced setting up of such a panel to bring about uniformity among the States on investment and industrial growth related subjects.

The panel has been asked to ensure that as far as possible agricultural land should not be included in the land banks but land locked up in industrial units or areas that are sick or lying unutilised should be considered for the bank.

The panel would also formulate a framework for preparation of State specific investment promotion strategies. It would also draw an outline for preparation of State level skill development plan, it said. Ministers from Assam, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan are the members of the committee.

Several big ticket projects had failed to take off primarily due to problems in acquiring land.