Tweet: More foreign money for infra sector: RBI makes it easier for infra cos & infra-lending NBFCs to raise ECBs. Minimum maturity of 5 yrs.
Easier access to foreign borrowings: RBI has relaxed the norms for infrastructure companies to raise foreign loans through ECBs (external commercial borrowings). Mining, exploration and refinery sectors, which were earlier not included in “infrastructure” sector, will now be eligible to raise ECBs as well.
Tweet: Gas is cheap now: Domestic natural gas prices reduced 20% to $3.06 per unit. In last 2 years, global prices have fallen 75%.
Good news for gas users: The government’s 20% cut in domestic gas prices will not only translate into reduced costs for sectors like power and fertilisers but also result in lower prices of piped natural gas (PNG) for home users and compressed natural gas (CNG). The prices are expected to drop by R1 to R1.5 per kg with effect from April 1.
Tweet: Diverted: Timely launch of UDAY by @PiyushGoyal has prevented a bunch of Discom debts turning NPAs in the books of banks as of 31March.
Bonds to the rescue of banks and discoms: There were strong apprehensions that, in fiscal 2015-16, the banking system would be hit by a tsunami of discom NPAs (non-performing assets). However, with the launch of UDAY (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana), whereby a large part of the discom debt has been taken over by the state governments, the fear of a burst of NPAs from the electricity distribution sector has receded.
Tweet: Coal Mountain: As on April 1, total unsold coal stocks stood at 57 mt vis a vis Coal India’s 2015-16 production of 536.5 mt.
Unsold stocks a cause for concern: Coal India’s commendable turnaround in coal production has caused a new problem. Low offtake by power plants combined with reduced plant load factor to just about 60% has left the PSU with large unsold stocks.
Tweet: EnvMin announces the “Construction & Waste Management Rules”—a first for India. Covers full chain from storage/segregation to disposal.
Turning waste into resources: In a bid to tackle pollution, the environment ministry has proposed rules that aim to recover, recycle and reuse the waste material generated by construction and demolition activities. This waste amounts to 530 million tonnes annually.
Tweet: Economic Diplomacy: PM Modi signs off R3500 cr loan (during this Brussels trip) from European Investment Bank for Lucknow Metro project.
European funds for Lucknow Metro: The European Investment Bank is all set to finance part of the Lucknow Metro Project, including purchase of the required fleet of trains. This was a significant outcome of the Prime Minister’s visit to Brussels on March 30.
Tweet: Kolkata flyover collapse should ideally lead to serious introspection amongst construction industry professionals about self-governance.
A tragic state of affairs: The collapse of the Rs 166 crore Vivekananda flyover in Kolkata should serve as a wakeup call for the construction industry. There is a strident demand from civil society that the industry needs to evolve its own professional code of conduct and accountability norms.
Tweet: Against popular perception, states in India are pretty disciplined in their financial management. Combined states fiscal deficit is 2.7%.
States opt for fiscal prudence: An HSBC study of 18 states reveals that states missed their fiscal deficit targets due to lower revenue collection and slower GDP growth. However, it appears that fiscal prudence is the order of the day and the trend across states is to reduce wasteful expenditure with minimum cuts in project and capital outlays.
—Vinayak Chatterjee is Chairman of Feedback Infra
His Twitter handle: @Infra_VinayakCh
A weekly selection of the author’s tweets—
with a brief backgrounder—in the infra space, by Adite Banerjie