Rs 40K-cr infra fund inplace, sovereign funds keen to join: Jaitley

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 29, 2015 23:26 IST
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley chairing the first meeting of the Governing Council of NIIF in New Delhi on Tuesday. (PTI)

The government on Tuesday set up a Rs 40,000-crore National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), and said its chief executive will be appointed by January-end.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley, who had announced the fund in his 2014-15 budget speech, chaired the first meeting of the NIIF’s governing council. He said several sovereign funds and pension funds from Russia, Singapore, UK and UAE are willing to participate in the fund.

“The progress with regard to the proposals of sovereign funds from the UAE, UK and Russia were particularly discussed, including the expressions of interest from other countries,” said Jaitley, who heads the NIIF governing council.

“We will meet again in March to review the progress on each of these funds that intends to invest in NIIF.”

The council also discussed the possible projects that may be taken up under the NIIF.

The search-cum-selection committee, formed under the aegis of department of economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das, has already held two meetings regarding the appointment of NIIF CEO.

“We hope the CEO selection process is completed over the next few weeks,” Jaitley told reporters after meeting.

The governing council also noted the possible projects that may be taken up under the NIIF in Tuesday’s meeting.

Jayant Sinha, minister of state for finance, also attended the meeting.

The government will put in Rs 20,000 crore in the NIIF, while another Rs 20,000 crore would be injected by the private investors.

The market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has approved setting up of the NIIF, a finance ministry statement had said.

In July, the cabinet had approved setting up of the sovereign wealth fund NIIF, which would look at all commercially viable projects — both greenfield and brownfield — in India, including the stalled ones, and will provide equity finance to infrastructure projects with long gestation period.

The government would hold 49% in the NIIF, which would take independent investment decisions. It would be headquartered in Mumbai.

Besides, Jaitley and Das, State Bank of India chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya, investment banker Hemendra Kothari and former Infosys director TV Mohandas Pai are also members of the governing council.

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