Picture courtesy: ADB/Flickr

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide USD 350 million loan to improve access to urban services in India by accelerating policy actions and reforms to enhance service delivery and promote performance-based central fiscal transfers to urban local bodies (ULBs). This is part of the recently launched national programme Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) 2.0 and to provide affordable housing urban water supply, sanitation to all, including poor, urban migrant and industrial workers, under the flagship mission Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. It will also support urban local bodies particularly in select low-income states to implement policy reforms, prepare investment plans, and provide recommendations on cross-cutting issues like climate change, environmental and social safeguards assessment, and gender equality and social inclusion.

The deadline for completing projects under the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) was extended for all 100 participating cities to June 2023 due to the delays caused by COVID-19 and based on a NITI Aayog recommendation in August, according to Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry. Smart Cities had issued tenders for 6,452 projects worth Rs. 1.84 lakh crore as on November 12. Out of those, work orders had been issued for 5,809 projects and 3,131 projects completed so far.

The National Highways Authority of India’s (NHAI’s) debt has gone up 14 times since 2014-15 to stand at Rs 3,38,570 crore, as on November 30, 2021, Parliament was informed. NHAI’s cumulative debt kept on piling to stand at Rs 44,567 crore at the end of 2015-16 and rose to Rs 77,742 crore in 2016-17, Rs 1,21,931 crore in 2017-18, Rs 1,78,867 crore in 2018-19. As on February 2020, NHAI had a total debt of Rs 2, 28,252 crore, which rose further to Rs 3.17 lakh crore at the end of 2020-21. To repay debt and develop new highways, NHAI has been monetising government-funded highway projects since 2018. It has set an ambitious target to monetise 21,700 km operational highway stretches in three years starting 2022-23, a plan that could help it raise around Rs 2 lakh crore. Monetisation of the existing assets will be carried out through three routes: toll operate transfer, toll securitisation and infrastructure investment trusts (InvITs).

In a major reform for the port sector, Union Minister announced tariff guidelines for the public private partnership (PPP) projects in major ports, saying they will usher in a new era of market economy and make major ports more competitive. In the new Act, the provision of the erstwhile Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) stands abolished. The guidelines also allow the concessionaires at Major Ports to set tariffs as per market dynamics. Currently, Major Port’s PPP concessionaires handle around 50% of the total traffic handled by all the major ports in India. The biggest benefit of transition to market linked tariff is that a level playing field will be provided to the PPP concessionaires at major ports to compete with private ports.

In the sector of real estate, realty firm Birla Estates Pvt Ltd will invest around Rs 5,500 crore to develop a luxury housing project in South Mumbai as part of its expansion plan amid rising demand for residential properties. The company plans to develop 2.5 million square feet of housing, one million square feet of office buildings and 1, 00,000 square feet of high street retail in various phases of this 14-acre project.

IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd has completed equity fundraise of Rs 5,347 crore from Cintra INR Investments BV and Bricklayers Investments Pte Ltd. The company in a statement said Cintra has invested Rs 3,180 crore through preferential placement, thus holding up to 24.9 per cent stake in the company, whereas, Bricklayers Investment has invested Rs 2,167 crore through preferential issue, holding up to 16.9 per cent stake in the company.

Godrej group’s real estate private equity arm Godrej Fund Management (GFM) has raised USD 500 million (Rs 3,800 crore) for development of premium office assets. The company announced the final closure of its USD 500 million office development fund, GBTC II.

Mumbai-based Godrej Properties Ltd (GPL) has announced that it has entered into a joint venture with TDI Group to develop an ultra-luxury residential project over 1.25 lakh sq ft in Connaught Place. The project is likely to have residential apartments of various configurations. Godrej Properties is developing a housing project at Okhla, while it will soon launch a luxury housing project at Ashok Vihar.  In the Delhi-NCR property market, the company is developing projects in Noida, Greater Noida and Gurugram. It recently bought a 16-acre land parcel in Bengaluru to develop primarily residential properties. The company is expanding its presence across Delhi-NCR, Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), Pune and Bengaluru and purchasing land parcels and entering into joint ventures with landowners.

Tata Realty and Infrastructure Ltd will scale up its commercial real estate portfolio to at least 12 million square feet over the next 2-3 years before considering launching a real estate investment trust (REIT) public issue to monetise its rent-yielding office assets. Tata Realty announced an investment of Rs 5,000 crore over the next 7-8 years to develop a 7 million square feet IT park project in Navi Mumbai in partnership with UK-based investment firm Actis. At present, there are three listed REITs — Embassy Office Parks REIT, Mindspace Business Parks REIT and Brookfield India Real Estate Trust — on Indian stock exchanges. Apart from IT parks and data centres, Tata Realty will also make investment in development of shopping mall projects in major cities like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Welspun One Logistics Parks (WOLP), part of the Welspun Group, announced that it has acquired 40 acres of land, located on the Malur-Hosur road, to set up a large-scale warehousing facility. Situated in Tamil Nadu, this is the first of six projects as part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that Welspun One recently signed with the Government of Tamil Nadu’s nodal agency to set up warehousing facilities across the region. The projects, to be executed under the MoU, are expected to bring in direct investments of approximately Rs 2500 crore to the state. With a development potential of 1 million square feet and a total project cost of Rs 300 crore, the facility will service the Bengaluru Metropolitan region’s (BMR’s) industrial and warehousing demand for space.

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