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Indias infra sectors seek Canadian participation

Indias infra sectors seek Canadian participation

Infrastructure Today India Opportunity Conference: India's infra sectors seek Canadian participation

A report on the conference in Toronto that focused on why India is lucrative as an investment destination.

It is a nation under construction. As India's Secretary of Road Transport and Highways AK Upadhyay said, the country's network of highways constitutes less than 2 per cent of its roads—the second largest network in the world, but the highway-building in India is the world's largest such programme under Public-Private Partnership (PPP). Under this National Highways Development Programme (NHDP), the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which Upadhyay chairs, has completed about 16,000 km of National Highways while another 10,000 km is under­way. A total of seven phases of NHDP will cover roughly about 48,750 km in net road length. Upadhyay's ministry is also committed to “creating quality infra­structure”—as he puts it—of 24,750 km of National and 18,000 km of State Highways with minimum two-lane standards.
While acknowledging the limita­tions of toll roads, Upadhyay said the most viable of projects would fund the less lucrative ones, in which the government would invest and bid out under the Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) mode.

These whopping figures indicate the much-discussed demographic dividend and fast-growth returns that India offers, as the staggering volumes and big-ticket projects are one way that foreign investors—including those from Canada—would be eyeing the country's infra­structure sectors in the midst of a European sluggishness and not enough trigger in the Americas. Whether as developer or contractor, international companies have much to vie for in the Indian infrastructure pie—through supplying technology such as that needed in Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) systems, or investing through pension funds, or providing valuable project management skills and supervision to the more than 250 ongoing big-ticket infrastructure projects under PPP and thousands under EPC or plain contract mode.

Aspire International Group in association with the Canada-India Business Council (C-IBC) recently brought together industry leaders, corporate executives, institutional investors, planners and senior government officials from both Canada and India. At the Infrastructure Today India Opportunity Conference, held at the Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto, on 11 May, they learned and discussed the contemporary infra­structure environment in India, especially showcasing opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs and project management firms. Held in Canada for the first time, the conference analysed key issues and sought to evolve specific solutions for Canadian investors and exporters.

The one-day conference hosted more than 20 spea­kers, including an official Indian delegation led by Upadhyay, and constituting senior representatives from Essar Steel, IDFC Private Equity, Morgan Stanley, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, SBI Capital Markets, IL&FS and others. They were joined by leading Canadian companies and investors, including Canada Pension Plan, Cleantech Group, Hydro One Networks, ReichmannHauer Capital Partners, KPMG and Export Development Canada, among others. Over 100 parti­cipants attended.

The Government of India plans to invest over $1 trillion over the next five years to meet the huge demands on the country's infrastructure. Over 50 per cent of these funds will come from the private sector.

Pratap Vijay Padode, President of ASPIRE International Group and Editor-in-Chief of Infrastructure Today, India's leading infrastructure magazine, said: “Despite the gloomy picture that the media have been portraying in recent times about the slowdown in India's economy, the infrastructure sectors have a bright future and this is the right time for investors to enter India. Our conference sharp-focused that aspect of India that helped de-obfuscate the scope and challenges for investors and others.”

Rana Sarkar, President & CEO of the Canada-India Business Council, said: “From engineering expertise, design and implementation, as well as intelligent tran­sport systems, green energy and signi­ficant investment opportunities for pension funds and other financial firms, Canada is well positioned to grow alongside India–if we start now and work collectively.”


  • Urban infrastructure, transport & logistics: The 20,000 km highway opportunity; metro rail—dream becoming reality; the gap in India's real estate
  • The insatiable energy hunger: investment oppor­tunities in the power sector; capitalizing on India's solar and wind mission; the power transmission and distribution challenge
  • The Infra-environment: Tax and regulatory environment for infrastructure projects; the PPP model and procurement process; how to leverage transnational expansion—the story of Essar Steel
  • India's Infrastructure funding requirement: Panel discussion on risks, returns and new developments in Indian infrastructure finance
  • In March, a consortium including ICICI Bank and Citigroup set up a US$2 billion infrastructure debt fund—the first of its kind that will facilitate long-term financing by local and foreign financial institutions

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