Infrastructure leaders gather at Infra India GRI 2020

3 MIN READFebruary 24, 2020
The much anticipated 2nd edition of Infra India GRI 2020 concluded yesterday. The event brought together government officials & senior key decision-makers from the private industry sector from India & overseas for two days of closed-door discussions, as well as high-level networking. 

Key Discussion Takeaways:

Market Overview - Assured long term potential: An overview of the sector was first discussed, in regards to international investors and the opportunities available to them in Indian infrastructure. Participants agreed that the NIP initiative was good, and expected the legislation to provide much more support and guidance in the sector over the next 5 years. They also agreed that despite the economic changes, India remains one of the most preferred infrastructure investment destinations globally. 
The industry was of course hurt by the 2008 crisis, but this only led to the rationalisation of expectations and the more realistic and stable choices for long term growth. Lead by an esteemed panel of experts, it concluded with the nation that Indian infrastructure remained very attractive for international and domestic investors alike and that there was definitely significant potential for investment over the next few decades.

More domestic financing needed in renewable energy: The subject of increased investments in renewable energy and power sector was also discussed. Moderated by Amit Jain (World Bank) and joined by special guest Dinesh Jagdale (Joint Secretary-MNRE), it was said that clean energy remained the top choice by far in terms of investment preference, echoing the global thoughts and public pressure on environmental protection. However, developing the domestic financing market was needed to push renewable energy to the next level. More specifically, banks need to participate more and RBI intervention is much needed. This would also mean that the domestic bond market would benefit, which is good because some believed the country was too reliant on foreign funds. Other risks that were highlighted included project closing duration, the poor financial health of discoms, lack of implementation of RPOs and non-adherence to PPAs and arbitrary renegotiations. 

Other highlights: In the discussion on the road sector, it was noted by road developers that investment interests in roads were significantly skewed towards brownfield assets instead of greenfield assets. This was primarily due to the high risks associated with land acquisition and subsequent construction in India. Amber Dubey (Joint Secretary MoCA) joined for the discussion on the role of technology & skilling in Infrastructure. It was evident during the discussion that everyone understood the importance of technology in infrastructure, and how aviation was one market where tech had been a major disrupting factor. It was said that the government needs to take a closer look at this in order to stabilise India’s tourism and business travel economy. 

Some of the key participants included Amber Dubey (Jt. Secretary-MoCA), Asheesh Sharma (NHAI), Dinesh Jagdale (Jt. Secretary -MNRE), Sanjeev Lohia (IRSDC), Saurabh Agarwal (CDPQ), Pushkar Kulkarni (CPPIB), Hans-Martin Aerts (APG Hong Kong), Pawan Kant (KPTL), Sidharath Kapur (ACME Solar), Amit Jain (World Bank), Manish Sharma (PwC) & Jatin Aneja (Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas Co).

Infrastructure leaders active in South America are set to gather 14-15 May at Infra Latam GRI, and Indian investors and developers also active in real estate will gather again at India GRI, taking place in Mumbai on the 23-24 September. 

GRI Infra Emerging Markets will gather global infrastructure leaders to develop international partnerships and will take place on 7-8 October in London. 

Article by Matt Harris

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