India's plan to cut red tape gets tangled
This current proposal is completely unacceptable as it will decimate the role of individual ministries in taking responsible decisions, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natrajan said in a letter to the prime minister that was leaked to media.
The ministry has blocked several high-profile industrial and infrastructure development projects. Natrajan's influence comes from her perceived closeness to Sonia Gandhi, the powerful chief of the ruling Congress party, who favours populist policies.
The tussle reflects India's struggle to balance the need to foster economic growth with a desire to protect the environment. Poor infrastructure is often cited by economists as one of the biggest obstacles to more robust economic growth.
A typical infrastructure project requires clearances from 19 federal ministries and on an average 56 permissions on issues ranging from the environment to defence. The whole process takes up to 24 months.
Now, the NIB faces a similar set of bureaucratic hurdles.
Any decision to take place which has implications for a very large number of ministries, you need to have inter-ministerial discussions and create a consensus, said Arvind Mayaram, economic affairs secretary at the Finance Ministry.
He said a decision could be taken within three weeks.
Government officials said the prime minister's office had asked the Finance Ministry to revise the proposal after failing to broker a compromise between the two ministries.
We are hopeful that it will eventually get resolved. They (the
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