Decision on NIB deferred, PM wants more deliberations

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet today deferred decision on setting up National Investment Board (NIB) as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wanted more inter-ministerial discussions on the proposal.

The proposal to set up a high-level body for according speedy clearance to infrastructure projects entailing investment in excess of Rs 1,000 crore was initially mooted by Finance Minister P Chidamabram.

The Prime Minister wanted more discussion to he held on the issue, said a Cabinet Minister who attended the today's meeting.

The proposal, according to official sources, may come up for Cabinet approval next week.

Chidambaram had proposed setting up NIB to oversee and monitoring large projects. NIB could also be called Cabinet Committee on Investment, he had said.

The proposal, however, had evoked sharp criticism from the Environment Ministry, which had said that NIB would dilute its powers.

Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh opposing any move to bypass the required green clearances for mega projects.

She had said that the proposal seems to have been mooted only for the benefit of large firms and investors, while having no provision for redressing the concerns of affected people.

Recently Chidambaram had said that there were over 100 projects, each involving investment of Rs 1,000 crore or more, that have been delayed due to various reasons.

"Our problem is not conceptualising projects. Our problem lies in getting numerous clearances and getting the project off the ground within a reasonable time," he had said.