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Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee to kickstart large projects


The government is out to remove regulatory obstacles to growth days after India's GDP data showed a worrying slump to 6.5% in 2011-12, the worst in nine years. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will on Monday review 32 large infrastructure projects involving a total investment of about Rs 180,000 crore with a view to removing bottlenecks in their way.


Lack of industrial activity and sufficient investment inflow from the private sector have been cited as  major factors constraining India's growth story.  Large projects in turn generate demand for smaller projects and services.


“Finance minister's intervention will help kick start these large projects that have been languishing for want of statutory and regulatory approvals,” said a senior government official.


According to the agenda note for the meeting, the pending approvals are also delaying disbursements of huge loans by the public sector banks to these projects.


"Delayed implementation of projects not only impact the benefits to the economy but there is also an increased risk of already disbursed loans turning into non- performing assets (NPAs)," the agenda note for the meeting said. 


Mukherjee reviewed 25 large infra projects in October and November last year. "The FM has called for an action taken report on these 25 projects and will also take up seven new large projects costing Rs. 28,652 crore in the power, steel and real estate sectors," the note said.


A speedy implementation of the large projects is expected to  provide a strong push to GDP growth that fell to 5.3% during the January-March quarter, the worst in 36 months.


The seven new projects that include four power projects, two iron and steel projects and one in the real estate sector involve 14 pending approvals from the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Ministry of Coal and the Ministry of Power.


In addition, the finance minister has also chosen to taken up issues over uncertainty of coal supply to power sector.


 The GoM on coal that met last week has pushed for speedy environment clearances to develop the Mahan and Chattrasal coal blocks — awarded to Essar and Hindalco combine and Reliance Power respectively.


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