National Industrial Corridor Authority Plan Abandoned

The Government of India, around 3 days ago, decided to cancel its plan to establish a National Industrial Corridor Authority (NICA). It was proposed as a nodal body to oversee work related to all national ‘industrial corridors’, in the face of implementation hurdles.

Reason for Such Decision

The Authority was put on the back burner due to delay anticipated by the Prime Minister’s office and ite Cabinet Secretariat in obtaining Parliamentary approval for it to be conferred ‘statutory’ status on the lines of the National Highways Authority of India.

About National Industrial Corridor Authority

The plan to establish National Industrial Corridor Authority was announced by Finance Minister in his maiden Budget speech in July 2014.

The Government’s aim was to great National Industrial Corridor Authority overreaching powers including primacy over State bodies on all aspects of industrial corridors, therefore, permitting it comprehensive operational freedom.

To make sure the passage of National Industrial Corridor Authority Act in Parliament the Centre had prepared a plan to go in for a Constitutional amendment that was to remove doubts on whether the topic ‘industrial corridor’ comes under the ‘State List’ or ‘Union List’ of the Constitution.

At present ‘industries’ are part of the state List, except those mentioned as ‘industries’ under the Union List- such as those declared by law, for “war” “defence” and in “public interest”.

The amendment was proposed to make sure that all matters belonging to ‘national industrial corridors’ come under the Union List and this would in turn, prevent conflicts with State Authorities and ensure better Centre-State coordination for extending proposals.

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The Next Step

To fill the void the Union Government has decided to set up the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (DMICDC), the coordinating body for corridors to move forward with proposals related to corridors in the works. And for this purpose a fresh Cabinet note has been sent recently to the Ministries related in which comments on the new proposal about the formation of DMICDC has been saught.

It is important here to know that making DMICDC the coordinating agency requires only a Cabinet nod and is easier than obtaining Parliamentary approval for National Industrial Corridor Authority.

According to the new plan to make DMICDC the nodal agency, its head would have the powers to approve proposals relating to corridors. This will be then forwarded to the DMIC Trust that is being currently managed by the secretaries of Department of Economic Affairs, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and that NITI Aayog. This Trust could be extended to comprise the Secretaries of shipping Road Transport and Urban Development (for including the ‘smart cities’ in these corridors).

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