Narendra Modi is not rejecting everything that the UPA had to offer. The prime minister has got rid of a lot of the previous government's baggage such as dozens of dysfunctional group of ministers, but has retained the project monitoring group (PMG) created by his predecessor Manmohan Singh. The PMG facilitated clearances to more than 152 infrastructure projects worth Rs5.32 lakh crore in less than 10 months. Modi has now asked the group to ascertain the progress of these projects.
"Earlier, the PMG's future was uncertain, but it has now been given added responsibility," said a top government official. For instance, in case of a highway project, it would have to ascertain the length of the highway constructed. Also, for a coal mining project, it will have to check the amount of coal mined since getting clearance. A power plant will have to give details about power generated from it.
A letter seeking such details has been shot to all ministries whose stalled projects were cleared by the PMG. "The information would be gathered in 10-15 days. It would help the government in removing bottlenecks in the implementation of those projects," the official said.
The PMG was formed in the cabinet secretariat in June 2013 after the UPA-II faced criticism for stalled projects. It was entrusted with the responsibility of tracking such projects with investment of over Rs1,000 crore and remove bottlenecks to kick-start them.
The group turned out to be a magic wand for the UPA and brought its squabbling ministers on one table, clearing 152 mega projects worth Rs5.32 lakh crore and providing a much-needed push to the industry. Of the Rs5.32 lakh crore, the industry has already made an investment of Rs3.14 lakh crore.
The Modi government's move to retain the PMG is significant as it has already ditched the UPA's baggage of group of ministers and empowered group of ministers which paralysed policy decisions. Since Modi is bullish on growth and has promised faster clearances to the industry, he is not keen on doing away with a successful working model.
On May 20, when Modi was elected as the leader of the BJP parliamentary party, he had said: "Neither me nor the BJP feel that the past governments did nothing... we will take their good work ahead and aspire to do even better."
The decision to retain PMG seems to be one such move by the Modi government, acknowledging a system of the previous government that is working well to facilitate growth by catalysing stalled projects.