All ministries will have to specify half-yearly targets in terms of physical and financial milestones while asking for extension in execution of projects and approval for their time and cost overruns, Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha has written in a note to all secretaries.This directive comes in the last year of the Modi government with a focus on delivering projects and schemes promised in the last four years and ensure they reach the last mile on the ground. The government told Parliament last month that as on November 1,2017, 302 central sector infrastructure projects were running behind their schedule and cost overrun of these 302 delayed projects was Rs 1,45,679 crore. “It has been observed that many proposals involving time and cost overrun or extension in time frame of implementation of projects or schemes are being referred to the Cabinet/Cabinet Committees for their consideration and approval,” the Cabinet Secretary’s note says. Given this scenario, the note says, it has been decided that all such proposals now on must necessarily incorporate in the ‘Note for Cabinet/Cabinet Committees’, “specific physical and financial milestones with corresponding half-yearly targets for their implementation”.The secretaries have been asked to monitor these projects closely thereon and take remedial steps. “In the event of any slippage from adherence to these specified targets, at the end of every six months, the Cabinet/Cabinet Committees would need to be appraised of the reasons for such slippage along with the strategy to achieve the targets,” the Cabinet Secretary has written in his note to all secretaries.It has also been emphasised upon secretaries that after approval of projects or schemes by the Cabinet, it is “expected” that the ministries closely monitor their implementation to ensure that cost and time overruns are avoided and remedial steps are taken, whenever required. Also, in cases of proposals which do not come to Cabinet or Cabinet Committees for approval, the “same procedure” as above will be followed in respect of other appropriate approval authorities, the Cabinet Secretary has specified. The Department of Expenditure in Finance Ministry has laid down detailed guidelines for financial appraisal of such proposals relating to Revised Cost Estimates (RCEs).The government had told Parliament last month that a Standing Committee in each ministry has been set up for fixation of responsibility for time and cost overruns. “However, it has been observed that due to environmental clearances, statutory clearances, land acquisition, fund constrains, security clearances etc., fixing responsibility on any officer(s) become difficult. The major steps undertaken to ensure completion of Central Sector Infrastructure Projects without time and cost overruns include rigorous project appraisal; OCMS for better monitoring; setting up of revised cost committees in the ministries for fixation of responsibility for time and cost overruns; regular review of infrastructure projects by the administrative ministries concerned; and setting up of Central Sector Projects Coordination Committees (CSPCCs) in the states under the chief secretaries,” the government had told Parliament in a written reply on February 7.