India’s first large-scale core sector fund, the Rs 40,000 crore National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), is one step closer to being operational.
On Monday, Union minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha announced the appointment of Sujoy Bose as the chief executive officer of the NIIF, which was created by the government in August 2015 to give a boost to infrastructure financing in the country.
Bose is currently a director and global co-head of infrastructure and natural resources at the Washington-based International Finance Commission, the private-sector investment arm of the World Bank.
At IFC, Bose manages a $12.6 billion portfolio in power, oil and gas, mining, utilities and transport.
In a career spanning more than 25 years, NIIF will only be Bose’s third port of call. The Rice University MBA and commerce graduate from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, Bose spent close to 24 years at IFC after having worked with Citibank for a year as a management associate in 1991.
Before being elevated to the current role, Bose was the chief investment officer and head of IFC’s African, Latin American and Caribbean fund. He has also spent close to four years in India heading IFC’s Mumbai office between 2006 and 2010.
In August last year, The Economic Times had reported that the IFC had committed to invest $5 billion in India and had funded companies including Mahindra Solar and NSL Renewable.
It had also issued so-called ‘green masala bonds,’ to address climate change, the report said.
Bose’s appointment is significant as it carries forward a recent trend of appointing professionals from the private sector to senior government positions.
Last year, the Narendra Modi government had appointed two private-sector professionals to head two public-sector banks—Bank of Baroda and Canara Bank. PS Jayakumar, the then managing director and CEO of VBHC Value Homes Pvt Ltd, was picked to head Bank of Baroda while Rakesh Sharma, who was at the helm at the Lakshmi Vilas Bank, was appointed to manage Canara Bank.
The United Progressive Alliance government headed by former prime minister Manmohan Singh, too, had tried bringing in talent from the private sector to hold significant positions in the government bodies. Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani spearheaded the ‘Aadhaar’ project as the chief of the Unique Identification Authority of India and Arun Maira, the former India chairman of the Boston Consulting Group, was appointed as a member of the now defunct Planning Commission.
The NIIF was set up to attract foreign and domestic investments into the infrastructure sector, and is effectively a government-owned investment manager. While an initial budgetary allocation of Rs 4,000 crore has already been made to NIIF, more funds will be allocated going forward, the government said in a release on Monday. The NIIF could soon operationalise initiatives along with the Qatar Investment Fund, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and JSC Rusnano of Russia.
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