Investment Opportunities in India

March 28, 2013

Booming infrastructure industry of India

Infrastructure development in India has contributed majorly in the country’s economic transformation and growth during the last decade. Roads, ports, railways and power are key segments of the infrastructure sector. Some of the key facts related to the same are:

  • Indian Shipping segment, with 187 minor ports and 13 major ports, is spread across nine maritime states
  • The Indian Railways network is spread over some 64, 000 km, with 12, 000 passenger and 7, 000 freight trains plying each day from 7, 083 stations carrying around 23 million travellers and 2.65 million tonnes (MT) of goods daily
  • Indian road network is the second largest in the world with a total length of 4.1 million kilometres (km)

The total investment for the road sector is projected at Rs 9.20 lakh crore (US$ 167.55 billion) during the Twelfth Plan (2012-17), of which the Central and States would contribute Rs 3.58 lakh crore (US$ 65.19 billion) and Rs 2.66 lakh crore (US$ 48.44 billion), respectively, representing about 68 per cent of the total investments in infrastructure sector. Meanwhile, the private sector is anticipated to account for 32 per cent or Rs 2.94 lakh crore (US$ 55.6 billion) of the total investment.

Foreign investors are looking for high return on investments and are going to target Indian infrastructure companies in the coming years.

Investments options for NRIs in Indian infrastructure industry

The Cabinet has given its nod to private investment in state-run Indian Railways for building new rail lines and plants and enhance capacity. The move would allow foreign investors to connect railways with the ports, mines and industrial plants by providing last-mile connectivity and thereby reduce transportation costs

The Indian Government has also envisaged The Indian Railways Vision 2020 which aims to tackle infrastructure obstacles and deliver best services while building capacity, opening up huge investment opportunities for NRIs.

Further, the Government has recently approved nine road projects worth around Rs 11, 600 crore (US$ 2.11 billion), to be executed by State Governments under public private partnership (PPP) model. These projects, totalling up to 1, 226 km, are being bid in Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

The finance ministry would provide 20 per cent of the financial requirement while another 20 per cent would come from the highways ministry in order to make these projects financially viable in the form of viability gap funding (VGF). The Government of India (GoI) has earmarked Rs 2, 295 crore (US$ 417.88 million) under VGF, wherein Rs 500 crore (US$ 91.06 million) would be released in 2012-13.

Future of infrastructure sector of India

India is betting high on private investments in infrastructure sector as the Government hopes that the private sector, through PPPs, will invest US$ 350-400 billion in infrastructure sectors (like roads, ports, railways and airports) between 2012 and 2017. This is about half the total investment in infrastructure according to the 12th Five Year Plan.

Moreover, seeking about US$ 1 trillion of investments in highways, harbours and power plants from 2012-2017 for infrastructure development in India, the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh would lead a panel focussed at speeding up approvals of infrastructure projects. The Cabinet Committee on Investment would aim at easing bottlenecks that subdue growth and development of the country.

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