NEW DELHI: The finance ministry will compile a list of projects that can be offered to foreign governments that have pledged billions of dollars in investment. This could be the Narendra Modi government’s version of the project monitoring group set up by its predecessor to get stalled infrastructure development moving again.
The list preparation will be led by the finance ministry in consultation with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Infrastructure ministries will be asked to submit the list of projects. “These can be both new and existing projects, which require finance at lower rates and for longer tenures,” a senior government official said. China and Japan have already pledged investments worth $55 billion over the next five years. In August, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) promised $75 billion after Modi’s two-day visit to the country.
Countries such as South Korea and Australia have agreed to invest around $10 billion each in various sectors. “The issue that we are facing in some cases is where to direct these investments,” said the official. “If we have a ready list of feasible projects, public and private investments from these countries can come in as direct equity or exposure through a soft loan for longer tenure.” Foreign direct investment (FDI) rose 23% in FY15 to $44.88 billion from $36.39 billion in FY14.
The finance ministry is also looking to ease various restrictions on FDI and present India as a more attractive investment destination. During his US visit, Modi promised to speed up decision making. “The world is not going to wait for us–I know that,” he had said after meeting chief executive officers on Saturday. The government may also look to add projects belonging to non-state companies to the list. The PMG had been set up by the last government to track stalled projects both in the public and private space, and facilitate clearances to free up large investments across sectors. It facilitated resolution of stumbling blocks in 314 projects with an investment of around Rs 10 lakh crore. “The list can also be shared with the special country cells set up at the PMO, which can further work out a mechanism to expedite these public and private investments from the respective nations,” the official said.