Current Affairs – January 2018

First NIIF investment: To set up $3-billion platform with DP World

The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) has made its first investment by partnering with DP World to create $3-billion investment platform for ports, terminals, transportation and logistics businesses in India.

The platform will invest in opportunities in ports sector and beyond sea ports into areas such as river ports and transportation, port-led special economic zones, freight corridors, inland container terminals, and logistics infrastructure including cold storage.

Significance

Efficient logistics and cargo movement are critical components for continued growth and development of Indian economy and particularly the manufacturing sector. The platform will reduce the cost of moving cargo between port and origin and destination.

Background

In October 2017, Government had secured investment commitment of up to $1 billion from Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA). It was first institutional investor in NIIF Master Fund and shareholder in Fund’s investment management company — the National Investment and Infrastructure Limited. Apart from ADIA, four domestic institutional investors also be joined the NIIF Master Fund including ICICI Bank, HDFC Group, , Kotak Mahindra Life and Axis Bank.

National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIFF)

NIIF was set up in December 2015 to catalyse funding into the country’s infrastructure sector. It has been registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India as a Category II Alternate Investment Fund.

It has a targeted corpus of Rs 40,000 crore to be raised over the years — 49% of it will be funded by government at any given point of time. The remaining 51% will be raised from domestic and global investors, including international pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, multilateral/bilateral investors.

It has been set up as a fund of funds structure with aim to generate risk adjusted returns for its investors alongside promoting infrastructure development. Its Governing Council us chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has already been set up to act as an advisory council to the NIIF.

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India inks $120 million loan agreement with World Bank to fund improved water supply in Uttarakhand

India has signed $120 million loan agreement with multilateral lending agency World Bank to help increase access to improved water supply services in peri-urban areas in Uttarakhand. The agreement was signed between Government of India, Government of Uttarakhand and World Bank Board.

Key Facts

The loan amount will be used for Uttarakhand Water Supply Program for Peri-Urban Areas to help state to increase water supply coverage as well as ensure sustainable water supply service delivery in peri-urban areas.  The program will develop and implement service-oriented and efficient water supply policy for peri-urban areas, strengthen current monitoring and evaluation systems. It will also provide dedicated incentives for preparation and adoption of water supply ‘master-plans’ in peri-urban areas.

Background

Population growth and urbanization has led to rise of significant peri-urban areas mostly in the plain regions of Uttarakhand. They are still classified as rural but are effectively urban in nature in terms of density of population, structure of economy and aspirations of the people.

It has resulted in actual disconnect between formal classification of these populated areas and their actual nature, including provision of water supply, along with unique governance, infrastructure, and service delivery challenges. From 2001 to 2011, the state’s urban population has grown by nearly 42%, which is substantially higher than national average of 32%. State has made significant strides in piloting and implementing various innovative approaches in water supply and sanitation services but in peri-urban areas have not been prime focus.

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