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Project monitoring at a click

“Today, I think an assurance has come from the top that if the decisions are bonafide then no harm should come to the bureaucracy,” says Anil Swarup, Chairman, Project Monitoring Group
The Government of India has set up a project monitoring group (PMG) to fast track major investment projects worth Rs. 1,000 crores and above and impart transparency in clearance procedures. Anil Swarup-led PMG has decided to digitise all applications for clearances relating to forest, environment and others by March 2015. In an interview with Subhajit Roy, Mr Swarup highlights the roadmap for his group.     
How do you look at the current trends in infrastructure? Is there any kind of change after the new government comes in?There is a lot of positive energy; a lot of purposive discussion. Today people feel much more comfortable in having open discussion and then taking decision. In the project monitoring group we get this feel that the ministries are taking decision – files are getting fast tracked.
Is this because of the change in perception…Yes. I think the signals from the top are very positive and that is what makes the difference.
Earlier, what are the challenges the policy makers were facing?Earlier there was evident reluctance in part of some of the bureaucracies to take decision apprehending action subsequently. Today, I think an assurance has come from the top that if the decisions are bonafide then no harm should come to the bureaucracy. That probably has made some difference.
What are the efforts taken up by new government to speed-up the projects?Apart from clearances they have mandate now to see an actual action happens on the ground in terms of economic activity, whether in case of generation, production or services. So we are also keeping a close look at the projects that clearances have been given to ascertain whether actual economic activities are commenced on the ground.
Apart from the speeding up of the projects, are you going to bring-in some kind of transparency?There would be total transparency. As we are digitising all the processes for the clearance as well as for registration, it will become totally transparent. The industry will be able to file applications on the portal and track those applications against specified timelines. This is already happened in case of environment and forest ministry. We are engaging with other ministries too. We hope that by 31st March 2015 all the clearances and registration, at least most of them could be available through portal.
What are the long- and short-term objectives of PMG?So far the PMG has facilitated clearances for 176 projects worth ` 5.7 lakh crore. At present, there are over 450 projects listed on the portal.
Our immediate objective is to continue to push for clearances. Our medium-term objective is to digitise all the processes and see their statuses are available online to the industry.


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