PM in hurry, seeks to kick off projects at earliest

MMS

The Prime Minister's Office has sought status of public sector projects that are planned or nearing completion so that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh can unveil them, showcasing his government's development initiatives.

The PMO asked economic and infrastructure ministries on November 12 to furnish details "at the earliest" of projects ready for "launch or inauguration" so that "a formal programme of the PM for foundation-stone laying or dedication to the nation can be firmed up at the earliest".

This comes amid frequent calls for early polls by the Opposition, which is determined to obstruct the government's policy initiatives even as it continues to stall Parliament.

The PMO's request to ministries is a marked departure from the existing norm of ministries approaching with requests for the PM's presence at such ceremonies. The PMO usually goes into the political merits of each event before selectively giving the dates.

The request follows a National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council report that more than a dozen investment projects ó spread over railways, ports, roads, oil and gas and power sectors, among others ó were nearing completion, though delayed, by end March 13, sources said. The council had tracked the status of mega projects with an outlay of over Rs 1,000 crore.

Last June, an 'Investment Tracking System' had been set up in the council to ensure speedy and timely implementation of such projects, after the country hit a nine-year low GDP growth of 5.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011-12.

Besides the 14 projects identified by the competitiveness council last month which are nearing completion, the ministries have been asked by the PMO to provide details of "any other such project which may be ready for launch/inauguration".

Officials said the strategy seemed to be to have the PM launch projects highlighting his government's development agenda even as the Congress concentrates on fighting the corruption charges.

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