Millennium Post

Investment norms for NIIF may be tweaked: Das

Government is looking to tweak the investment norms for NIIF (National Investment and Infrastructure Fund) to allow investors to co-invest in this sovereign wealth fund as also in the individual projects. The norms would be tweaked within the broad framework of the investment to take into account suggestions from the domestic and overseas investors, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said on Thursday.

Das also expressed hope that the retail inflation would remain at 5 per cent this fiscal, in line with the RBI’s projection, and help India develop into a low-cost economy in terms of lower interest rates, transaction costs and logistics costs. Speaking to reporters at an event here, Das further said India’s economy is likely to grow at 8 per cent this year on account of good monsoon, passage of the GST Bill in Parliament and a slew of reforms being undertaken by the government.

“With a good monsoon which we expect this year, with the passage of GST, which also the government is very confident that it will happen in the monsoon session of the Parliament and the cumulative result of all reform measures being taken, this year we are looking at 8 per cent growth,” Das said. In the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016, the country’s GDP grew at 7.6 per cent. In the fourth quarter of last fiscal, the economy grew at 7.9 per cent.

 Das said the growth in manufacturing, services and agriculture sectors during the last fiscal suggest that there has been an improvement in all these segments and will contribute to the overall growth in 2016-17 fiscal. He said a good monsoon will add to a good agriculture and will also create a lot of rural demand.
The Secretary said reform processes and the policy initiatives, that have been taken in the last few months, will continue. “We will see greater action with regards to various policy initiatives and with regard to reform measures going ahead,” he said.

 On NIIF, Das said: “Earlier we were considering NIIF to be the mother fund under which there would be several sub-funds. Now after interaction with investors from within and abroad we realised that there is equal amount of interest, perhaps greater interest to co-invest in individual projects.”  A panel headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley reviewed the progress of NIIF on Wednesday. 

While co-investment in individual projects is important, it is also important that the investors come into the mother fund because there government equity will be only 49 per cent, Das said.
“Therefore, we are now in discussion with various investors and they will co invest in individual infrastructure projects and also invest in the mother fund,” the Secretary said. He said the government is also in talks with many domestic investors as well as multilateral institutions to invest in NIIF. 

“Some of the multilateral institution have shown interest to invest in NIIF and we are in discussion,” he added. He said a few projects have been received for investment under NIIF and the government has shared the list with potential investors. 

“Internally, we have done appraisal of some of the projects and hopefully within the course of few months the process of actual investment will start,” Das said. The government is also in the process of selection of the chief executive officer for NIIF and shortly the name will be announced, he said. 
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