The cabinet has decided to defer the decision to clear the Cabinet Committee on Investment. This committee was earlier called the National Investment Board (NIB).
Vinayak Chatterjee, chairman, Feedback Infra, says that deferment of decision to clear the Cabinet Committee on Investment is a disappointment. He says that there are possibilities that it could be turf issues.
Below is the edited transcript of his interview to CNBC-TV18.
Q: Why do you think that government has deferred the decision to clear the cabinet committee on investment? According to you what went wrong?
A: I think it a bit disappointment as the market and the industry related to infrastructure had welcomed this step as it was one thing that was needed.
Therefore, the government moved so quickly from the time the finance minister made the suggestion at the National Development Council (NDC) that was suppose to approve or approves the plan documents, the 12th plan.
Since then it has moved pretty fast and there has been a lot of debate to and fro. But there is nobody who has doubted the demerits of such a proposal. It was universally welcomed and suggestions were acclaimed. The whole country was today expecting to see it cleared in the cabinet. Now the cabinet doesn’t have any opposition parties or others to block it.
So the fact that it has been deferred is certainly a disappointment. It could only be turf issues and one had expected that the turf issues concerning the environment ministry or the legal ministry or the commerce ministry, which has questioned its role vis-à-vis Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). One would have expected that turf issues would have got sorted out before the cabinet meeting, but evidently that has not happened.
Q: The government sources are very confident that turf issues and insecurities that various ministries were feeling, that had been resolved, but clearly that doesn’t seem to be the case. Do you believe it really has the potential to be the big game changer that the government hopes it will be?
A: I agree that it is considered to be a game changer. I am privy to the fact that between the PMO and the ministry of finance a lot of detailed homework had been done to see how to craft the NIB, so that within the rules of business of government as it is called, the cabinet decisions regarding clearances for which the NIB is being formed would have the full force of the state behind it and would override individual objections of line ministries.
So, a careful degree of crafting and homework had been done. People were expecting that it would be cleared today and once it was cleared then many other things would get cleared along with it. We should not lose hope. Maybe some technical issues have applied brakes to the decision.