New Delhi: The Home Ministry has given security clearance to more than 6,200 proposals, including 134 foreign direct investment plans, in the past two years in critical sectors such as defence, civil aviation and telecom, the government told the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir informed the Lower House that in the past two years, the ministry gave security clearance to more than 1,600 proposals in critical sectors like defence, arms and ammunition, explosives, telecommunications, information and broadcasting, civil aviation, currency, shipping, etc.

The ministry also disposed of more than 4,600 security clearance requests including 134 of foreign direct investment in government approval route requiring security clearance, he said in a written reply to a question.

Average processing time for such clearance was about 71 days in 2018, he said.

Ahir said as per information provided by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and the Reserve Bank of India, the FDI through automatic route is under general permission and can be received without any approval, in compliance with the Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or issue of security by a person resident outside India) Regulation, 2017.

"No information is available about the number of proposals received for FDI under automatic route. Therefore, information related to percentage in terms of number of FDI proposals coming through the automatic route is not available," he said.

UPA's policy paralysis versus NDA's development-conservation balance

One may recall that then BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha campaign of 2014 repeatedly referred to a certain “Jayanthi tax”. As the Manmohan Singh government's minister for environment and forests, Jayanthi Natarajan had become infamous for withholding projects. It was one of the reasons the UPA II government was accused of "policy paralysis".

An India Today report of October 2012 read: "Over the last 15 months, as minister for environment and forests, she (Jayanthi Natarajan) has successfully stalled every attempt by the Prime Minister to make her fall in line with his reformist vision."

About Congress's Jairam Ramesh, the report said, "Her predecessor, Jairam Ramesh, was no different: In 2010, an EGoM set up under the chairmanship of Pranab Mukherjee asked moef to drop the go/no-go classification of forest land. It was dropped, only to be replaced by 'violate-inviolate' distinction. Experts say that there is no difference between the two classifications, only one of nomenclature."

The change was palpable within two years of the Modi government. The Financial Express wrote in 2016: "In the last two years (then) Union minister of state for environment, forests and climate Prakash Javadekar has undertaken several measures balancing the twin objectives of environmental sustainability and development. He put in place a mechanism for faster and transparent environmental clearance regime for industrial projects. Javadekar spoke to Sandip Das on a range of issues relating to the need to protect the environment as well as ensuring economic growth."

Along with the fast yet cautious security clearances that were hard to come by during the UPA rule, the Modi government has scripted a new growth story.