India strenghtens political relations to develop infrastructure in Mauritius, Seychelles

Port Louis: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has secured agreements to develop islands in Mauritius and Seychelles in an early success for his drive to wrest back influence in the Indian Ocean from China.

China has invested millions of dollars in recent years building seaports and highways in countries stretching from the Maldives to Sri Lanka that lie on vital shipping lanes through which much of its energy supplies and trade passes.

India, alarmed at the prospect of China building a network of friendly ports in a “String of Pearls” across the Indian Ocean, has stepped up its diplomacy, offering a range of civil and military assistance.

On Wednesday, as Modi toured Mauritius, officials signed an agreement to upgrade sea and air links on the remote Agalega islands, offering India a foothold in an area hundreds of miles from its coast.

The two sides have been discussing North and South Agalega islands for years but there have been reservations in the about opening up the area to foreign involvement.

India’s foreign ministry said in a statement the agreement “provides for setting up and up gradation of infrastructure for improving air and sea connectivity, which will go a long way in ameliorating the conditions of the inhabitants of this remote island.”

The new facilities would also “enhance the capabilities of the Mauritian Defence Forces in safeguarding their interests”, suggesting there would be a military spin-off to the development.

The North Agalega island has a rough air strip which would likely be upgraded under the agreement, a former Indian navy pilot said.

China has also been strengthening political relations with island nations with President Xi Jinping visiting Maldives and Sri Lanka last year where Chinese state firms have won contracts to build airports and seaports.

Modi also announced an agreement with Seychelles to develop infrastructure on Assumption island.

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Six Policies To Stimulate Infrastructure In India

BENGALURU: From road ways to the railways and other smart- city initiatives, the last few years has witnessed a significant change in the Indian Infrastructure sector. These changes have lead to provide the world class facilities for the citizens across the nation.

Indian infrastructure is the largest platform that is targeted by the very top decision makers. Being a policy month, February 2015 has been burdened with the economic decisions in the budget. The rediff.com has identified the following measures to stimulate the Indian infrastructure projects:

Expenditure-driven infra investments By The Public: The public investment for public expenditure works as an engine to drive growth in a short run. The announcement made by the Finance Minister for increasing investments in infrastructure to Rs. 70,000 crore for establishing National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), was made with an aim to bolster the country’s infrastructure sector.

This will also enable the fund to raise debt and investment as equity in infrastructure companies like NHB and IRFC. Even the government has decided to set up new ultra mega power projects and streamline the regulatory environment for the infrastructure projects in India so as to bring enhancements in the sector.

Report By The Economic Survey : The economy would grow by 8.1 percent that will make India the world’s top growing big economy according to the economic survey. This is a positive sign indicating a clear route to enhance the manufacturing sectors and creating job opportunities.

This will also result as a momentum for Make In India Campaign initiated by the government with an aim to witness the vast progress and development in the country.

Off-Budget financing: During the budget session the FM announced about the National Infrastructure and Investment Funds. The NIIF is said to be initiated with the startup corpus of Rs. 20,000 crore. This was welcomed and widely appreciated by the infrastructure sector.

Altering ThePPP formats: The private investment in the infrastructure through public private partnership (PPP) model has stepped into catalyzing investments after the proposal of the Finance Minister in order to boost the infrastructure sector.

The budget has decided to bring regulatory reform laws for this sector to bring an effective change that would lead to the development and growth in the Indian Infrastructure.

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India’s Key to Sri Lanka: Maritime Infrastructure Development

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent trip to Sri Lanka highlights New Delhi’s reawakening to the strategic position that Sri Lanka holds in India’s neighborhood. Since 2008, India has watched as China built port facilities, highways, and other major infrastructure in Sri Lanka. People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy warships have also paid port visits to Sri Lanka, even taking in Trincomalee, where India has been sensitive to any extraregional presence for decades. Most recently, in September and October 2014, New Delhi became unsettled at the sight of a conventional Chinese submarine and a tender ship openly paying port visits in Colombo on the way to counterpiracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden. Despite the public nature of the docking and advance notice, Indian policymakers appeared to be taken by surprise and feared India had lost strategic ground to China regarding Sri Lanka. In essence, how did India go from once being offered the opportunity by Sri Lanka to develop Hambantota harbor to being caught off guard by Chinese submarine visits in its backyard?

Shortly after the submarine episode, Maithripala Sirisena defeated Mahinda Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka’s January 2015 presidential election and visited India for a successful summit with Modi in February. But despite this recent warming of relations, India should recognize the underlying factors—some of its own making and others independent—that have contributed to the perception that India’s overall relationship with Sri Lanka has fallen behind Sri Lanka’s relationship with China, given the latter’s robust commercial activity. A better understanding of these factors will help New Delhi develop a comprehensive and less reactive approach to Indian Ocean security as new manifestations of China’s engagement in the region lead observers to question India’s pre eminence in its own backyard.

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‘Digital India initiative to drive infrastructure changes’

The government’s smart cities and Digital India initiatives have gathered maximum attention from the IT sector as these projects will rely heavily on information and communications technology. John Fowler, who is executive vice-president of Systems at business software firm Oracle, believes that some of the activities like Digital India initiative are going to drive infrastructure changes. “People will want to look at using new hardware and software to build a secure infrastructure for Digital India and that is where we want to try to help as we build very complete hardware and software solutions that work in very highly scaled and highly secure environment,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction. Excerpts:

What is your perspective on the Indian market. Government has announced major plans to adopt technology with its Digital India and other e-governance initiatives.

The reason I am here is because I have detected a very big pickup and energy out of India and it is not just the government initiatives, it is also what you are doing in banking, energy and telecommunications sectors. Some of the activities like Digital India initiative are going to drive infrastructure changes.

So people will want to look at using new hardware and software to build a secure infrastructure for Digital India and that is where we want to try to help as we build very complete hardware and software solutions that work in very highly scaled and highly secure environment.

The government is really opening up and allowing for free market competition, particularly in the banking and telecommunications sectors where there is a significant business opportunity. You have a technically astute society. So people who appreciate technology both the end consumer but also the CIOs and IT people are very technical here, that works well for me because I come along with a technical proposition.

So I am very excited about India. I think there is a lot of stuff that we can do here. Some of the things that we are already working on could end up being leading edge examples for things that we do in other countries, so it is a big opportunity for us. We hope to be well-positioned with the transformation and help make it as successful as possible.

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DIAL exits cargo services; sells stake to India Infrastructure Fund

Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL), a subsidiary of GMR Infrastructure, has exited from cargo services at the Delhi airport by selling its entire stake to India Infrastructure Fund for Rs 29 crore.

“Accordingly as per the terms of definitive agreement and on completion of condition precedents, DIAL on March 16, 2015 has sold and transferred its entire holding of 1,09,20,000 equity shares of face value of Rs 10 each, to India Infrastructure Fund-II for Rs 26.20 per share and has received the total consideration of Rs 28.60 crore,” GMR Infra said in a regulatory filing to the BSE.

Last month DIAL had entered into a definitive agreement to sell its entire stake of 26 per cent of the equity capital of Delhi Cargo Service Centre Pvt. Ltd which operates cargo services at Delhi airport.

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Budget 2015: Rs.70,000 crore push to infrastructure sector

A big push for infrastructure sector with a hefty 70,000 crore increase in investment, that’s what Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday announced to pump the economy even though it means postponing by a year to 2017-18 achieving the stiff fiscal deficit target of 3 per cent. “It is no secret that the major slippage in the last decade has been on the infrastructure front. Our infrastructure does not match our growth ambitions.

There is a pressing need to increase public investment,” the finance minister said while presenting the Budget.

Listing infrastructure among the five major challenges he has to reckon with, Jaitley said with private investment in infrastructure via the public private partnership (PPP) model still weak, public investment needs to step in to catalyse investment. He also stressed on the need to revitalise the PPP mode of infrastructure development.

Coal India to spend Rs 12,000 crore in F.Y16 on capex, Infrastructure

New Delhi: State-owned Coal India (CIL) is gearing up to invest about Rs 6,000 crore towards capital expenditure in the next fiscal and an equal amount on augmenting other infrastructure, including rail connectivity.

The announcement comes at a time when the company has a target to achieve an output of one billion tonnes by 2019-20.

“CIL and its subsidiaries are proposing to invest around Rs 6,000 crore in 2015-16 towards capital expenditure,” Coal India said in a filing to BSE.

 

Further, an amount of around Rs 6,000 crore has been earmarked by CIL for railway and other infrastructure development for 2015-16, the company said.

 

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Government eyes $2 billion in foreign funds for expansion of major ports

NEW DELHI: The government is planning to raise nearly $2 billion (about Rs 12,400 crore) in overseas funding for expansion of major ports in the country as well as to execute rail and road projects to connect them to the hinterland.

The shipping ministry is likely to soon finalise the proposal for a dozen major ports that have a combined US dollar denominated income of about $400 million a year, officials said, adding that the plan will require the nod of the finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of India. “Ports are not hard pressed for money but we want access to cheaper funds. We can use our dollar denominated earnings as a security to raise more finance and it will be hedging for our funds as well,” a senior government official said. Most of the Rs 2.96 lakh crore investments envisaged in major and non-major ports by 2020 has to come from the private sector.

However, public funds will be required for activities such as deepening of port channels, and expansion of rail and road connectivity from ports to the hinterland. India allows foreign direct investment up to 100% under automatic route for construction and maintenance of ports.

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Work to begin on 20-30 smart cities this year: These features may help your city become ‘smart’

smart city

NEW DELHI: The government plans to take up 20-30 cities during the next financial year under its flagship scheme to develop smart cities. Sources said there would be some minimum pre-qualification for the cities to make it to the elite club.

To start with, the government is looking at creating a colony or commercial area as small as 50 acres within a city limit with smart features in five years that can be replicated in other parts in successive years. “Once people see a success story in their vicinity and there is a model, more such areas can be developed with people’s participation,” said an urban development ministry official.

As per the concept note, there will be three approaches – retrofitting, redevelopment and green-field development. Under the retrofitting scheme, a city can undertake an area of minimum 500 acres and can implement the scheme in three years. Under a redevelopment scheme, a 50 acre area can be taken as a model. Similarly, in the case of green-field development, the project area can be a vacant land spread over at least 250 acres and can be completed in 10 years.

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LBO France acquires CHRYSO for 285 million Euros

LBO France has completed the acquisition of CHRYSO from Materis for 285 million Euros, alongside the present management team. Based on a moderate leverage, it also provides company the flexibility to step up its growth strategy.

LBO France will now closely work with CHRYSO’s management team to drive the company’s ambitious business plan by reinforcing its technological leadership and continuing its geographic expansion at a global level.

Talking about this strategic move, Mr.Robert Daussun, CEO, LBO France said, “We know CHRYSO extremely well as it was a subsidiary of Materis- where we had a major shareholding between November 2003 and May 2006. We are convinced that this company has a strong potential for growth, especially through the innovation within the product. We are confident about this highly experienced management team and the strong footing the company has in the global market.”

In this transaction, LBO France is advised by Roland Berger (Benjamin Entraygues and Dominique Trancart), Mayer Brown (Xavier Jaspar and Thomas Philippe) and EY (Jean-François Nadaud, Elsa Abou Mrad and Martin Bignot). The management team is advised by Dechert (François Hellot, Anne-Charlotte Rivière and Elsa Jospé for legal aspects as well as Bruno Leroy and Damien Fernard for tax aspects).

With sales of 239 million Euros in 2013 and nearly 1,000 employees, CHRYSO is a global player, industrially and commercially present in over 20 countries. The company has exposure to both developed (Europe, North America) and emerging markets, with the latter accounting for over 50% of its business.

A leading global specialty chemicals player at the service of the Construction Industry, CHRYSO is specialised in admixtures and Construction Systems, and is renowned for its strong innovation capability. Admixtures are used in concrete and cement in order to improve properties such as setting, hardening time, fluidity, or strengths. Construction systems are products for concrete repair, flooring, adhesives and waterproofing.