Centre asks ministries to ensure timely completion, better monitoring of infra projects.

Delays in the timely implementation of projects, especially those related to infrastructure, has caught the eye of the Centre, which has now asked all departments and ministries to not only pull up their socks but also ensure a tighter system of monitoring and a mechanism to bring accountability in the system.

In a strong letter dated November 13 to all Union secretaries, cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba pointed out that delays and increased costs “not only impede the nation’s growth but also result in scarce resources having to be reallocated to these projects, rather than being productively utilized for meeting other important developmental needs”.

The top government official said that instructions have been issued time and again to emphasize the need for careful planning in case of infrastructure projects and identifying critical milestones with corresponding timelines.

These are required to be clearly spelt out in the proposals for the cabinet or cabinet committees, along with other relevant details, while seeking approval.

The cabinet secretary said that specific physical or financial milestones and target dates are also required to be incorporated in a separate ‘Statement on Major Milestones and Corresponding Target Dates’.

“However, despite clear instructions it has been observed that adequate attention is not being paid to this aspect,” Gauba said in the letter.

The top government official also made clear that in cases where costs need to be revised or there is a need for extension in timeframe for implementation, the proposals should necessarily contain an “analysis of the reasons for slippage and list the corrective steps taken so as to ensure accountability in the system”.

Significantly, the cabinet secretary’s letter came at a time when the government is trying hard to put the economy back on track which has been sluggish due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier in July, the cabinet secretary had also pointed out to the ministries that departments were not paying attention to timelines while sending proposals to the cabinet, which was resulting in difficulty in monitoring of infrastructure projects leading to avoidable time and cost overruns.

Source- Hindustan Times.

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