Infrastructure Current Affairs

First Investment Agreement signed between NIIF and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority

India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) of India on has signed an investment agreement worth $1 billion with Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA). With this, ADIA became first institutional investor in NIIF’s Master Fund and shareholder in NIIF’s investment management Company. NIIF is claimed to be India’s first sovereign wealth fund.

Background

The agreement was signed in pursuant to Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Finance Ministry and Government of United Arab Emirates (UAE) to mobilise long term investment into NIIF.

National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF)

The Union Government has set up NIIF in 2015 with aim to attract investments from both domestic and international sources for infrastructure development in commercially viable projects both Greenfield and Brownfield, including stalled projects. It was envisaged to be Category II Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) under SEBI Regulations. It will also serve as an umbrella fund with several funds underneath it.

It has proposed corpus of Rs. 40,000 crores (around $6 Billion).  Government’s contribution to NIIF is 49% of total commitment at any given point of time. NIIF has been mandated to solicit equity participation from strategic anchor partners, like overseas sovereign, quasi-sovereign, multilateral and bilateral investors.

Two companies viz. NIIFTL, trustee of fund and NIIFL, investment management company of NIIF were incorporated in 2015. Besides, Governing Council also has been set up under chairmanship of Union Finance Minister to act as an advisory council to NIIF.

Few investors of NIIF

NIIF has singed MoUs with Government of UAE, RUSNANO, QIA, RDIF and Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport & Urban Development (JOIN). In addition, DEA has signed terms for cooperation on NIIF with UK Treasury and US Treasury. Besides, India-UK Green Growth Equity Fund (GGEF) also has been announced in April 2017.

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MoRTH to promote new technologies in highway projects

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has decided to implement “Value Engineering Program” to promote use of new technologies, materials and equipment in highways projects executed either under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode or public funding mode.

Value Engineering Program

The objective of programme is to use innovative technology, materials and equipment to reduce cost of projects and make them more environment friendly. It also aims to ensure that roads or bridges and other assets get constructed much faster, are structurally stronger and more durable. It is expected to increase speed of construction, reduce construction cost, increase asset durability and improve aesthetics and safety.

National Panel of Experts (NPE)

The MoRTH also has reconstituted nine-member National Panel of Experts (NPE) for approving proposals for use of new technologies, material and equipment in highway sector. The reconstituted panel will be chaired by SR Tambe, former Secretary, PWD Maharashtra and co-chaired by Prof Ravi Sinha, IIT Mumbai.

Terms of Reference of NPE

The NPE will examine all technical matters involving new technologies, materials and equipment referred to it by concerned Engineers or contractors. It will also resolve technical issues which arise as result of difference in view between engineers and contractors regarding implementation of new and innovative technologies, materials and equipment.

It will also decide about need for field trials of any new or innovative technology, materials, equipment before its adoption and also finalize associated design approaches, construction methodologies as well as relevant specifications, guidelines, code so that contractor may use proposed new, alternative materials, technologies,  equipment in project highway.

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