Economy Oct 22, 2012
New Delhi: Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, who has raised objections to the government's plan to set up a National Investment Board, said she will speak to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about her reservations as she wants to "protect the interest of environment."
Days after she wrote to Prime Minister objecting to NIB, which would be empowered to give speedy clearances to mega projects bypassing various ministries, Natarajan refused to elaborate on the issue to a volley of questions from reporters.
"We will speak to the Prime Minister about the reservations we have on the issue. Whatever I have to say, I will say it in the Cabinet... to the Prime Minister," she said.
"But I will protect the interest of the environment," the Minister said.
In her letter to Prime Minister, Natarajan has said the manner in which changes have been sought on the issue of granting project approvals was disturbing and she wondered why NIB should step in when decisions like green clearances have to be given by her Ministry.
She also said the NIB has no constitutional authority and that the proposal will decimate the role of the Environment Ministry.
Concerned over delay in implementation of mega infrastructure projects, Finance Minister P Chidambaram had recently proposed a prime minister-headed NIB to accord speedy clearance to big ticket projects.
The Indian industry as well as several union ministries have repeatedly complained that environmental laws and clearances are becoming an impediment in country's growth story.
More From R Jagannathan.