The move is keeping in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's emphasis on boosting business and creating a favourable environment for them to flourish. The process is being driven by the Project Monitoring Group (PMG) under the Cabinet Secretariat, and is expected to be in place by the end of this financial year.
The PMG had, just a few months ago, devised a similar process for the Union environment and forest ministry, fixing timelines to take decisions on projects at every official level, including by the environment minister. This system for MoEF will go online from July 1.
The online system will help government in studying the levels that are becoming bottlenecks in the clearance process. Once these are identified, the government will take measures to ease those out to build a smooth system.
"The clearance process would sometimes take years, leaving the industry frustrated. The online system will change this," a senior government official told dna. "The PMG has its eyes on coal and mining ministries to create a similar system so that these key ministries can also the same system. Once this system is developed for coal and mining ministries, PMG will look at other key infrastructure ministries such as transport," the official added.
The official said the PMG is going ahead with the move after getting a clear go ahead from the Prime Minister's Office.
The PMG is devising timelines by bringing in all stakeholders together and not by themselves. "All stakeholders — especially the ministry and the industry — are coming together on one table to frankly discuss the issues with each other. It is enabling all of them to listen to each other's views so that all concerns can be addressed and suggestions are included. PMG is only acting as a facilitator and driving the process," he said.
The online system for MoEF was developed by a committee of environment ministry officials and industry representatives from CII and FICCI.
As per PMG's own data, issues related to environment, mining and coal are holding up the maximum number of big infrastructure projects. Set up in 2013 to catalyse project clearances, PMG brought all warring ministries on one table and in less than a year helped clear 152 projects worth Rs 5.32 lakh crores. Some of these projects were stuck for years.