Current Affairs – October, 2018

Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board to issue masala bonds worth Rs 5,000 crore for development works

Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) is going to issue masala bonds worth Rs. 5,000 crore to mobilise funds for various development works. KIIFB has appointed Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings for rating the masala bonds issue. The bonds will be listed in London and Singapore stock exchanges. The funds will be raised in tranches over period of 10 years.

KIIFB

It is Kerala government owned financial institution. Its mandate is to mobilize funds for infrastructure development from outside state revenue. It is statutory body constituted by Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Act, 1999.

Masala bonds

Masala bonds are rupee-denominated bonds through which Indian entities can raise money from foreign markets in rupee and not in foreign currency. Basically, it is debt instruments used by corporates to raise money from foreign investors in local currency. The issuance of rupee denominated bonds transfers risk associated with currency fluctuations to investors and not to the issuers. This is especially during depreciation of domestic currency and when borrowing is in foreign currency as company has to pay more while repaying its debt, or while servicing interest on such borrowings if the rupee weakened. From the issuer’s perspective, masala bonds provides cheaper borrowings compared to raising funds in India besides helps in diversifying its sources of fund-raising. Besides, it also helps in internationalization of the rupee and in expansion of Indian bond markets. Its issuance in long term can help to check slide of rupee and also reduce current account deficit over time.

India Mobile Congress 2018 held in New Delhi

The second edition of India Mobile Congress (IMC-2018) was held New Delhi from October 25-27, 2018. It was organised by Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). The theme was “New Digital Horizons. Connect. Create. Innovate”.

IMC 2018

It saw participation of more than 200,000 professionals from telecom industry, encompassing 5G, start-up ecosystem, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Smart Cities and allied industry sectors. The exhibition featured more than 1,300 exhibitors. It saw greater International presence with participation of policy makers and regulators from partner countries from ASEAN (Association for Southeast Asian Countries) and BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) besides US, Canada and European Union (EU).

India Mobile Congress (IMC)

IMC was launched in 2017 to provide platform for policy makers, industry and regulators to engage in meaningful deliberations to drive the future direction of telecom sector. The first IMC held in September 2017 was attended by around 2,000 delegates, 32,000 visitors, 152 speakers, 100 exhibitors and 100 start-ups.