"The NIB's authority should extend to proposals/projects where the investment is above a certain threshold, say, Rs 1,000 crore. Once the final decision is taken by the NIB, no other Ministry or Department or Authority should be able to interfere with that decision or delay its implementation," he said during his intervention at the meeting of the full Planning Commission.
Chidambaram regretted that under the present dispensation, "a truly `final' decision (on projects) does not emerge for many years".
He said outlays in the 11th Five Plan felt short of targets mainly because of failure to achieve physical targets. Giving illustrations, the Minister pointed out that
addition in power generation capacity during the Plan period was 55,000 MW as against the target of 78,700 MW. Similar shortfalls were witnessed in other key sectors like coal, crude oil, gas and railways.
In order to overcome these problems, Chidambaram said: "I would ... urge that we seriously consider the need to set up a mechanism at the Cabinet level to take final decisions on major investment proposals, especially in the infrastructure sector.
"The authority to take the final decision/decisions should be vested in a NIB to be chaired by the Prime Minister and the Allocation of Business Rules should be amended to create such a mechanism", he added.
At present, the Business Rules allocate the authority to take the final decision to one or more ministries.