By Accommodation Times News Service
To speed awarding of projects in the infrastructure sector and to get in private investment at a faster pace, the government has doubled the threshold limit for highway projects to be put up for approval of the Public-Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC).
Only those projects involving costs of Rs 1,000 crore and above would be referred to the PPPAC, which is headed by the secretary in the economic affairs department.
Officials said a similar easing of threshold could be considered for other infrastructure sectors as well. PPPAC approves the amount of government subsidy or viability gap funding required for projects being executed by the private sector.
For projects below Rs 1,000 crore, the Union road transport and highways ministry would clear the projects after required discussion in the standing finance committee and expenditure finance committee. Earlier, projects worth Rs 500 crore and above were referred to PPPAC, said a senior government official.
The move is part of a larger initiative by the government to speed up work in the highway sector. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had last month given its approval to empower the roads ministry to amend the Model Concession Agreement and to decide the mode of delivery of projects at the level of an inter-ministerial group headed by secretary, department of road transport and highways.
The users of national highways from all over the country will benefit from the speedy implementation of road infrastructure projects, a government statement noted.
Set up in 2006, PPPAC approves projects in port and power sectors as well, besides state government projects that require central funding in the form viability gap funding.
In February this year, PPPAC approved six projects of the roads ministry and one of the shipping ministry with an estimated project cost of Rs 16,057.45 crore. Since its inception, the PPPAC has approved 272 Central sector projects worth Rs 2, 96,579.6 crore. Among these are NHs (223 proposals), ports (32 proposals), airports (two proposals), tourism infrastructure (one proposal), housing (eight proposals) and sports stadia (five proposals).