India is set to spend USD 1.4 trillion on developing its infrastructure in the next five years, according to the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The move is seen in the backdrop of the country’s ambitious goal to become a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024.
Reportedly, the Finance Minister announced the government’s decision at the annual International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting that was held in Washington on October 19. She added that a task force had been set up in the finance ministry in order to map out an infrastructure pipeline for the coming five years. She laid emphasis on prioritising infrastructural growth of the country by stating that the current government would invest more on the segment compared to the spending in the last ten years.
The country has, as reported, launched Infrastructure Debt Funds (IDFs), Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs), and have put forth a strong blueprint for municipal bonds – that act as financial catalysts to give a push to further development.
Various models and initiatives have been adopted by the government: the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, the Asset Recycling Model (ARM) and the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).
ARM is a useful model that allows the revamping or modernisation of existing infrastructure while giving them the required funding to back upcoming projects. The NIIF, on the other hand is aimed at garnering investments from both national and international players, directed towards the infrastructure segment.
The development of brownfield assets as a distinct asset class is also on the books as this will permit the government to utilise them for further investment. These assets are reportedly, no longer in the backlog stages of land acquisition and required clearances. As per the Finance Minister, they are de-risked and hence, institutional investment from pension, insurance and sovereign wealth funds are forthcoming in such assets.
She also cued in the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) by stating that the scheme would cover a total of 145 million beneficiaries. The significance of India’s rural economy was also highlighted in tune to the scheme. To promote farmers to use organic seeds and natural fertilizers, the government is set to introduce the Zero Budget Natural Farming model. This will in turn, expectedly double farmers’ income by 2022.