Mar 23, 2016 07:40 PM IST | Source: CNBC-TV18

Govt approves UAE's $75bn investment in NIIF

Will this open a floodgate of capital into Indian infrastructure?

Government today cleared a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to explore opportunities for mobilisation of up to USD 75 billion long-term investment in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).

The Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave an ex-post facto approval for an MoU between India and the UAE signed on February 11, to mobilise long-term investment in the NIIF, Minister of Communications and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad said here.

Addressing media after the meeting, Prasad said "the joint statement during the visit of Prime Minister to the UAE in August 2015, mentioned the establishment of UAE-India Infrastructure Investment Fund, with the aim of reaching a target of USD 75 billion to support investment in India's plans for rapid expansion of next generation infrastructure, especially in railways, ports, roads, airports and industrial corridors and parks."

The MoU will help establish a transparent and high-level framework and collaboration platform under which both countries intend to explore ways to facilitate and expand the participation of UAE's investment institutions in appropriate infrastructure projects and institutions in India including NIIF, he said.

A joint working group comprising of the concerned representatives of both parties would take forward cooperation under this MoU and to discuss and agree the terms, principles and criteria jointly, he added.

The objective of NIIF is to maximise economic impact mainly through infrastructure development in commercially viable projects, both greenfield and brownfield, including stalled projects, NIIF would solicit equity participation from strategic anchor partners, he said.

The government in December had set up the Rs 40,000 crore NIIF, which is an investment vehicle for funding commercially viable greenfield, brownfield and stalled projects.

While the government will invest Rs 20,000 crore in NIIF, another similar amount will come from private investors.

NIIF has already been established as a Category II Alternate Investment Funds (AIF) as per the regulations of the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

"This move is a game-changer," Vinayak Chatterjee of Feedback Infra told CNBC-TV18, adding that the NIIF had step-down vehicles, which includes an asset reconstruction company. "A well capitalized ARC would be a boost to banks."

UTI MF MD Leo Puri said he expects the announcement would help attract more funds from other sovereign funds from across the world.

"These are flagship investments," said Chatterjee. "This will be a signal to other countries in Gulf as well as the European, Nordic countries and then the US and Canada."

Watch video for the full interview.

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