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Development Watch – Week #4 October ’23

Development News

New Deadline for Housing for all in Rural India

The government has advanced the deadline for housing for all in rural India by December 2023. The NDA government has accelerated its housing for all initiative for rural India. This brings forward the deadline by three months to December 2023 from March 2024, according to a booklet released by the Rural Development Ministry. The government aims to build 29.5 million houses for beneficiaries under the PM Aawas Yojana (Gramin), with 24.5 million houses already completed. The remaining houses are at various stages of construction and will be finished by December. 24.5 million houses have been built for beneficiaries under the PMAY (Gramin) until September 30. The target is at 29.5 million houses. These are at various stages of construction and will be completed by December 2023.

8,500 Crores in loans for roads business in India

Macquarie and KKR seek Rs. 8,500 Crores in loans for their respective roads businesses in India. Macquarie is raising around Rs. 6,100 Crores of loans to re-finance the existing debt of its toll-operate-transfer (TOT) bundle. This is the first and the most valued such bundle to be sold by the NHAI in 2018, for a winning bid of Rs. 9,681.5 Crores. This was also the biggest TOT bundle in terms of the roads to be monetized by the NHAI, involving 9 toll roads. Through the Highway Infrastructure Trust, an infrastructure investment trust (InvIT), KKR is also seeking to raise around 2,400 Crores through a mix of loans and bonds. These will be used to fund the acquisition of 6 road projects spread across Haryana and Karnataka. The majority of the debt, of about 5,600 Crores, will be used to repay the existing debt of the portfolio of 9 road assets, while remaining amount will be used for maintenance work and planned capex. KKR is raising the proposed debt from the existing lenders of its infrastructure investment trust. Existing lenders include Axis Bank, ICICI Bank and SBI, as per the latest annual report of Highways Infrastructure Trust.

Transhipment hubs and green shipping a priority for government

The Indian government has identified the establishment of a transhipment port at Galathea Bay and a mega port at Vadhavan as priority areas for the Ministry of ports, shipping and waterways. The government also aims to increase cargo transportation on inland waterways and coastal shipping. additionally, plans for green shipping include technological advancements, availability of green fuels, infrastructure at ports, legal frameworks, and funding. Among ongoing projects, the government has prioritized the establishment of transhipment port at Galathea Bay in the Great Nicobar Island for Rs. 65,000-85,000 Crores. Many ports have also started giving land for making green hydrogen and there is interest from organizations like NTPC, L&T, GreenCo, ACME group, ReNew Power, Welspun, etc.

Mumbai Airport to have more than 51 million passengers

Mumbai Airport, owned by the Adani Group, is set to exceed the 51 million passengers this fiscal year. This would surpass the pre-pandemic levels. The Mumbai airport has seen a 109% increase in passenger traffic in Q3, compared to the same period in 2019. The airport has the capacity to handle 55 million passengers annually. With new airlines and routes being added, the airport currently handles around 940 daily arrivals and departures. Mumbai is the 2nd busiest airport after Delhi’s India Gandhi International Airport, which currently has 940 arrivals and departures per day. Of the total traffic in Mumbai airport, domestic accounts for 75% and the rest is innternational.

First regional RapidX train commences operations

India’s first regional RapidX train has commenced operations. Known as ‘Namo Bharat’, the train began its operation on October 21. People were waiting for the inauguration of the priority section of the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS corridor at Sahibabad RapidX station. The 17 km priority section of the RRTS corridor connects Sahibabad to ‘Duhai Depot’. In another 6 months from now, 25 km more will be added to the RapidX network. Stations at Muradnagar, Modinagar North, Modinagar South and Meerut South will be ready for operations. Border to border connectivity would be achieved between Delhi and Meerut using the RapidX service. Each train has one premium class car with wider seats, more legroom, and coat hangers. The trains are also equipped with vending machine facilities.

The National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) is overseeing the development of the rapid rail service. Trains on the RRTS are expected to run at an operational speed of 160 kmph. The corridor is being built at an estimated cost of Rs. 30,724 crores. It is being co-financed by ADB, Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and New Development Bank (NDB).

Solar power to be dominant energy source by 2050

Solar power is poised to become the dominant global energy source by 2050. This is according to a new study titled “The Momentum of the Solar Energy Transition”, by the University of Exeter and University College London. The research is backed by the UK Government’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. While solar’s growth is tethered to availability of funds, the focus of low-carbon finance is predominantly on affluent nations. The Indian government is also planning to register solar panels made with domestically manufactured cells, wafers and polysilicon under the approved list of models and manufacturers (ALMM) in the next few years. The government will not promote the import of solar panel components and will review the ALMM next year to prevent the endorsement of outdated equipment of technology.

At the same time, Indian government has also modified the trajectory for renewable energy purchase obligations, giving a boost to small renewable energy projects installed by consumers. A new segment called “distributed renewable energy” has been introduced. This has allowed renewable projects with a capacity of less than 10 MZ to qualify for renewable purchase obligations. While the overall renewable purchase obligation (RPO) trajectory from FY25 to FY30 remains the same as notified in 2022, the segment mix has changed. REnewable energy projects of less than 10 Megawatt installed by consumers under any arrangement – net metering, gross metering, virtual net metering, group net metering, behind the meter installations and any other configuration, will qualify for renewable purchase obligation from the distributed renewable energy segment.

$680 million institutional investment for real estate sector during July-Sep

Reidential assets attracted USD 298.3 million of institutional investments during the July-September period 2023. This is 71% up from the year ago period, according to real estate consultant Vestian. The share of domestic investors also accounted for 71% of total investments received in Q3 2023. Overall, the sector received institutional investments worth $680 million during the 3rd quarter of 2023. This is 82% up from the same period last year. Across various asset classes, residential sector attracted highest institutional investments during 3rd quarter of the calendar year. Share of commercial assets (offices, co-working, retail and hotels) declined to 24% in Q3 2023, from 40% in Q3 2022.

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