PM to ministers: Sink differences, boost investment
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CITING fuel supply arrangements, security and environmental clearances as "constraints" that deter investments in the infrastructure sector, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday indicated that the government will not shy away from tough and unpopular decisions despite general elections being due in 2014.
"I am aware that we are working against the political calendar, but we should not lose sight of the fact that we are also involved in the task of nation-building. Our responsibilities and our commitment therefore need to transcend other considerations," Singh told a meeting of the council of ministers, exhorting them to come to a common understanding on these issues.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who explained the macro-economic situation, is said to have told his colleagues that investments worth Rs 7 lakh crore were stalled due to bottlenecks such as land acquisition, environment clearances, sluggish bank financing and delays in state regulatory clearances, among others.
He emphasized the need to take "quick decisions" to fire the growth engines in the steel, power, road and coal sectors.
The PM's emphasis on the need for a common understanding to remove bottlenecks to investment came in the backdrop of inter-ministerial differences over the creation of the National Investment Board, including opposition by Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan. The PM said that during the 12th five year plan, the government has set a target of realizing nearly $1 trillion of investment in infrastructure.
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