Eyeing investments from Asia’s second-biggest economy, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said his visit to Japan is aimed at taking India’s growth story forward with investors so as to make them invest in a host of sectors, including infrastructure.
“We already have over a thousand Japanese companies which have invested in India. (Japanese) Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe seeks to double it and therefore, I would be meeting individually as well as collectively a large number of investors,” said Jaitley, who arrived here yesterday on a six-day tour.
Apart from investors, the minister will meet Abe and other Japanese government officials.
“The whole idea is to take the India story forward with them,” said Jaitley, who attended ‘The Future of Asia’ conference here today. He did not speak at the conference.
Stating that there are investors and companies that are keen to participate in the growth of Indian infrastructure, he said the SoftBank group is looking at one of the biggest investments in solar energy.
“They have made considerable headway already. They have identified the location and probably (it) will be one of the largest investments in those areas,” he said.
Jaitley had met SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son here yesterday.
“I think similarly there are other Japanese investors who are open to the idea of having individual projects,” he said. .
“We are open to the idea of them joining the India Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF) and this Indian flexibility provides them with more than one opportunity.”
NIIF is being set up with a corpus of Rs 40,000 crore, partly funded by private investors, to finance infrastructure projects, including stalled ones.
The government and public sector entities will hold 49 per cent, with the rest offered to multilateral development banks, sovereign wealth funds, pension funds and other organisations.
NIIF will then buy shares in existing infrastructure lenders such as Rural Electrification Corporation and Power Finance Corporation, which will provide debt to selected projects.
While NIIF will have a quasi-sovereign status, external asset management companies will be in charge of treasury operations. Boosting infrastructure investment by 1 per cent of GDP could add 3.4 million jobs.
Asked if Japanese investors have identified any project, Jaitley said, “Well, many of them have. For instance, SoftBank itself in Andhra Pradesh has identified the solar power project and there are many others who have identified and are talking and looking beyond solar power now.”