Many sovereign funds keen to join NIIF: Jaitley 

New Delhi, Dec 29 (IANS) Following the first meeting of the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said proposals of participation, including by major sovereign funds across the world, were being considered for forming the corpus of the Rs.40,000-crore fund.

The NIIF governing council would meet again in March next year to review the progress in this regard, Jaitley said.

“Several sovereign and pension funds across the world have expressed their interest in participating in the NIIF.”

The progress with regard to the proposals of sovereign funds from the UAE, Britain and Russia were particularly discussed, including the expressions of interest from other countries, Jaitley, who heads the NIIF Governing Council, told reporters here after the meeting.

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

While the government will contribute Rs.20,000 crore to the fund, another Rs.20,000 crore is expected to come from private investors. The union cabinet in July approved the creation of the NIIF with a corpus of Rs.20,000 crore for development of infrastructure projects, including the stalled ones.

Tuesday’s meeting discussed formalities like the fund’s registration with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and appointment of advisors as well as possible infrastructure projects that could be taken up, he said.

“The appointment of a CEO for the fund is being done and it has been advertised both locally and abroad. We hope to complete the process of appointment in the next few weeks,” Jaitley said.

The government has formed a search-cum-selection committee, headed by Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das, to select a chief executive for the investment management company under the NIIF.

“NIIF has been registered with SEBI as Category II Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) on December 28, 2015,” a finance ministry statement said here.

The governing council noted the “appointment of India Infrastructure Finance Company as Investment Advisor to NIIF and IDBI Capital Market Services as Advisor to NIIF Trustee Ltd. initially for six months and one year respectively,” the statement added.

The six-member governing council has the economic affairs secretary as its secretary.

Other members of the council are the financial services secretary, State Bank of India chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya, investment banker Hemendra Kothari and former Infosys director T.V. Mohandas Pai.

Meanwhile, the Vijay Kelkar panel on reviving the public-private partnership (PPP) model of infrastructure development has, in its report released by the finance ministry on Monday, suggested that the government should encourage easier funding for projects with long gestation periods.

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