Leveraging private finance for urban infrastructure development

MoHUA Secretary Manoj Joshi underlined the need for value capture financing of urban resources to overcome the financing gap in urban infrastructure projects

Madhav Pai, CEO, World Resources Institute, India, moderated the panel discussion on 'Key challenges and enabling ecosystem for attracting private financing in urban infrastructure financing'

The panel discussion on Leveraging innovative financing instruments for urban infrastructure, focused on loans, green-blue bonds, sustainability-linked finance-ToD-VCF

FinTech BizNews Service

Mumbai, November 30, 2023: “There is a need to look to the future and focus on creating a holistic urban ecosystem for ensuring last-mile access to services, enhanced operational efficiencies, financial sustainability of projects, and integration of digital technology,” said Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Shri Hardeep Singh Puri during the special address at the National Workshop on ‘Leveraging private finance for urban infrastructure development – Learnings from G20 Infrastructure Working Group (IWG)’ in New Delhi today. Shri Puri also highlighted that Indian cities need to increase their capabilities – individually, organisationally, and institutionally.

The Ministry of Finance organised the national workshop in association with Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The workshop aimed at bringing out the key learnings towards attracting private capital for urban infrastructure in the context of the work done by the IWG during India’s G20 Presidency.

The New Delhi Leaders Declaration (NDLD) 2023 has endorsed the Principles for Financing Cities of Tomorrow: sustainable, resilient, and inclusive as one of the key outcomes of the Infrastructure Working Group (IWG). The principles encompass urban planning reforms, augmenting own source revenues, maximising investment efficiency, improving the creditworthiness of cities, using innovative financing instruments such as green, social, and sustainable bonds, creating a pipeline of investible projects, enabling regulatory environment and capacity augmentation of city administrations and institutional preparedness.

In his keynote address during the first session, Shri Bibek Debroy, Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the PM underscored the need for reform in the city governance structure along with a fresh look at the definition of urban landscapes.

During the context setting of the workshop, Shri Ajay Seth, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, mentioned that the purpose of this workshop is to integrate IWG’s outcomes into India’s domestic policy-making process and emphasise the potential and significance of cities of tomorrow as engines of socio-economic growth of the country. Seth also emphasised on the need of planning cities of tomorrow to be sustainable, resilient and inclusive.

In his welcome address, Shri Manoj Joshi, Secretary, MoHUA, brought up the need for long-term urban planning, unlocking the potential value of land, creating a conducive environment for attracting private financing and augmenting technical and institutional capacities. He also highlighted the need for cities to focus on increasing their own source revenues to enable them to finance urban infrastructure development. Shri Joshi also underlined the need for ‘value capture financing’ of urban resources to overcome the financing gap in urban infrastructure projects.

This was followed by the expert panel moderated by Ms. Shereen Bhan, CNBC TV-18, on ‘Cities as Engines of Economic Growth- Vision for a Better Urban Infrastructure Landscape’, which comprised of eminent speakers like Dr. V. Anantha Nageswaran, Chief Economic Advisor; Shri Vipul Roongta, MD and CEO, HDFC Capital Advisors Limited; Mr. Auguste Tano Kouame, Country Director, India, World Bank; Ms. Swati Ramanathan, Co-founder of Janaagraha.

The prominent theme of the discussion revolved around the need for spatial urban planning, transit-oriented development, affordable housing, increased participation of citizens and bringing transparency in the land market in the urban centres to complement the pace of urbanisation in the country. The panellists underscored the significance of cooperation and alliance among central, state and stakeholders to achieve the desired results.

Shri Madhav Pai, CEO, World Resources Institute, India, moderated the panel discussion on ‘Key challenges and enabling ecosystem for attracting private financing in urban infrastructure financing’ consisted of panelists Shri Dinesh Kumar Khara, Chairman, SBI; Shri Rajiv Mittal, CMD, VA TECH WABAG Limited; Mr. Masood Mallick, CEO, Re Sustainability; Shri Amish Mehta, MD & CEO, CRISIL Limited.

This panel discussed ways to improve the creditworthiness of the cities, the need to create bankable projects, capacity development of the city administration, and diversification of revenue sources which will eventually enable the cities to leverage private capital for urban infrastructure development.

The panel discussion on Leveraging innovative financing instruments for urban infrastructure (loans, green/blue bonds, sustainability-linked finance/ToD/VCF), consisted of panelists Shri Neeraj Mandloi, Principal Secretary, Urban Development (M.P.); Ms. Poornima Nasare, President and Biz Head, Sustainability team, Kotak Mahindra Bank; Shri Dibirath Sen, MD and Head of Global Banking, India lead for Sustainable Finance, HSBC, Mr. Frank Viault, Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation; and the session was moderated by Mr. Jason Pellmar, Manager, Infrastructure, IFC.

The panel discussed ideas and fostered discussions on the way forward in shaping a sustainable infrastructure investment ecosystem by revamping pooled financing mechanism, introducing concessional/blended financing for infrastructure projects etc. The speakers conveyed valuable insights and strategies to unlock the potential for shaping the future of cities.

The workshop was attended by more than 175 senior officials, including representatives from Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Sikkim and other states and UTs. In addition, senior executives from financial institutions, regulators, industry partners, and officials of DEA and MoHUA also participated in the workshop.

The discussions at the workshop centred around the need to deliver quality urban infrastructure as one of the most pressing challenges for cities in a rapidly urbanising world, and considering the fiscal condition of the cities, emphasised on the role of private financing in developing cities of tomorrow.

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