81 power projects take off in 10 months. The Project Monitoring Group is now looking to facilitate investments in 212 projects worth Rs 10.57 lakh cr.

In the past 10 months, 81 power projects, worth Rs 3.2 lakh crore, have taken off and seen actual investment on the ground, show data available with the central secretariat’s (PMG). Now, the group is planning to facilitate investments in 212 additional projects, worth Rs 10.57 lakh crore.

No action is expected to be taken in the case of 58 projects (worth Rs 4.5 lakh crore), which have been held up due to litigation.

During the past 10 months, the power sector alone contributed to 98 per cent of the actual investment of Rs 3.35 lakh crore into the economy; the rest was accounted for by the coal and petroleum sectors. Actual investments in the petroleum sector stood at Rs 2,634.14 crore, while for the coal sector, it was Rs 9,732.34 crore.

Currently, the PMG has data on 113 of the 153 projects it helped clear in the past 10 months. So far, Rs 3.25 lakh crore has been invested in projects, against the planned investment of Rs 3.66 lakh crore.

Since its inception in June 2013, the PMG has helped clear 153 projects, worth Rs 5.2 lakh crore. “As far as 58 projects are concerned, these are held up due to various reasons such as court cases and other disputes, and there is nothing much the PMG can do about those. As far as the actual investments go, a lot of it had already happened and some more investments were held up due to clearance issues, which we have been able to address,” said Anil Swarup, head of the PMG.

As of April, the overall value of projects before the PMG stands at Rs 21.63 lakh crore.

“The PMG has been instrumental in ensuring clearance and these have helped in move a number of projects. But at the ground level, there is a lot of work to be done and projects are yet to take off. The power sector has been grappling with bad assets since the past few years,” said Vishwas Udgirkar, senior director, Deloitte.

In a report last month, Credit Suisse said even after a new government came to power, the power sector would continue to face hurdles. “Two-thirds of the projects awaiting central approvals are in power and steel sectors, both seeing massive overcapacity, obviating new investments. True utilisation in thermal power generation is below 60 per cent, near 20-year lows. Of the litany of problems in the sector, two are crucial — state electricity board reforms and coal availability. We disagree with the consensus view that elections can revive the investment cycle.”

The PMG says states such as Odisha and Chhattisgarh lead others in the number of projects to be set up, including in the power, roads, mines and petroleum and natural gas sectors.

The PMG was set up last year by the prime minister to monitor and fast-track clearances for infrastructure projects that required investment exceeding Rs 1,000 crore. While the group has facilitated clearances to 91 projects in the power sector so far, it has also been able to fast-track investments in seven road projects and six shipping projects. Projects worth Rs 9.3 lakh crore in the power sector are before the PMG; steel projects worth Rs 4.9 lakh crore are pending with it.

Source: Business standard



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