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Russia, UAE, Britain sovereign funds keen to invest in NIIF

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, during a meeting of the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) on Tuesday said participation in major sovereign funds across the world will be considered.

Stating that NIIF governing council would meet again in March next year to review the progress in this regard, he 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, UK (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 intend to invest in NIIF,” the minister added.

The NIIF is expected to generate an initial corpus of Rs 40,000 crore. The union cabinet in July had approved the creation of the NIIF with a corpus of Rs 20,000 crore for development of infrastructure projects, including the stalled ones.

Explaining that Tuesday’s meeting discussed formalities like the fund’s registration with relevant authorities like the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and appointment of advisors to the fund, Jaitley said it also discussed possible infrastructure projects that could be taken up.

“Registration with SEBI and wherever else required, was discussed. 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.

Jaitley is the chairman of the six-member governing council while the economic affairs secretary functions as the council’s 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 TV Mohandas Pai.

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

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