'Earlier govt signed fake MoUs': Maha CM Fadnavis puts ball in Congress' court

The Maharashtra government has formed a high-powered committee under chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya aimed to ensure proper implementation of MoUs signed during the 'Make in India' week in Mumbai. The state government had hosted the MII week from 13-18 February in the megapolis, along with Department of Industry Policy and Promotion (DIPP) and the Government of India.

Pre-empting an opposition attack during the Budget session of the legislature this week, the Maharashtra government on Saturday said it has formed a high-powered committee headed by Chief Secretary Swadheen Kshatriya to ensure that the Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) signed during the Make In India Week fructify. On Thursday, Firstpost in an exclusive story revealed how the Fadnavis government's showpiece MoU for housing for poor is a rehashed dud.

The formation of the committee was announced days after the Opposition raised serious questions on the lack of transparency of the MoUs. NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik had alleged that one MoU with the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI) on affordable housing was inked by the government only to inflate the investment numbers.

Image courtesy: DGIPR, Maharashtra government

Image courtesy: DGIPR, Maharashtra government

Malik said the Congress-NCP government headed by Ashok Chavan had inked a similar MoU with MCHI in 2010 for constructing 5.69 lakh affordable houses in five years in Mumbai Metropolitan Region, but the MoU lapsed in February 2015 without a single house being built. “The value of this MoU is Rs 1.10 lakh crore, which in turn means that around 15 per cent of the Rs 8 lakh crore investment announced by the chief minister is fake,” he had alleged on Thursday, warning that the NCP will take up the issue when the budget session of legislature opens on 9 March.

Replying to NCP's charge, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said his government has a policy to follow up each and every MoU.

"I am not aware of what was signed in the year 2010, but if at all it (the MoU) was signed, it shows that the erstwhile (Congress-NCP) government had the habit of signing fake MoUs and do nothing (about it). Our government has a policy of following every single MoU signed," Fadnavis said while speaking to mediapersons.

As part of the event, the Maharashtra government inked 2,594 MoUs entailing investments of Rs 7.94 lakh crore which could possibly generate employment for over 30 lakh people in the state. A total of 2,097 MoUs were signed with micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) and large industries, and 20 in the skill development sector.

The rest of the MoUs were across various sectors including manufacturing, information and technology, animation, visual effects, gaming and comics (AVGC), textile, food processing, auto and auto components, defence and energy. To give an impetus to infrastructure, MoUs were also signed for industrial infrastructure, housing, railways, ports, and agriculture sectors, claimed the government.

Kshatriya said that apart from the high-powered committee, there will also be some sub-committees which will report to it on the progress of the MoUs. "We will decide the modalities about MoUs, as there were over 2,500 MoUs and it is not possible for the high-powered committee to take a review and monitor all of them. So we have decided to bifurcate MoUs on the basis of expected investment and the jobs generated," he said.

"The large MoUs in terms of investments and jobs will be handled by the high-powered committee, while the rest will be taken care of by the sub-committees and also by the principal secretaries of the concerned departments, under the high- powered committee," Kshatriya said.

He said that some smaller MoUs can also be delegated to the CEO of the MIDC or the secretary to the industry department and there will be 4-5 levels of classification of MoUs, as per the amount and expected employment generation, as both criteria are important.

State Industries Minister Subhash Desai on Friday said that the government would form a task force to ensure that at least 75 to 80 per cent of the MoUs fructify as actual investments. Speaking at a CII function, Desai told reporters that the government was aware that MoUs often remain on paper and do not get converted into actual investments. “Therefore, the government was planning to set up a task force to monitor and ensure that the MoUs translate into actual investments,” he said.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Mar 07, 2016 14:03 PM

Also See