The cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) today approved a proposal to delegate powers for appraisal and approval of national highways projects of up to Rs500 crore to the ministry of road transport highways.
This has been done to simplify the appraisal and approval of national highway projects, a CCEA notification said.
At present, national highway projects of Rs500 crore or above require investment approval of the CCEA but projects below Rs500 crore have varying appraisal and approval levels, depending on the source of funding and mode of implementation of projects.
National highways projects above Rs500 crore would be appraised by a committee chaired by secretary, expenditure or the PPPAC as applicable and approval will be given by the CCEA in accordance with extant guidelines and instructions.
Appraisal of projects below Rs500 crore, other than those to be appraised by the ministry of road transport and highways will be carried out by the standing committee on finance chaired by secretary, road transport and highways with the minister's approval, subject to fulfillment of certain conditions.
In case the conditions are not satisfied, the proposal would be brought before the Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC) or committee chaired by secretary, expenditure for public funded projects and sent to the CCEA for decision.
In case of a difference of opinion or dissent by members of the SFC representing Planning Commission / department of economic affairs / financial adviser regarding approval of the project, the dissent would be recorded and considered by the minister of road transport and highways for an appropriate decision.
With increase in costs over time, a large number of projects taken up by the highway ministry are in the range of Rs300 crore to Rs500 crore, CCEA pointed out.