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Indian private equity firm Milestone Capital Advisors plans to invest $450 million this year, with a focus on the education, healthcare and real estate industries, its managing director said in an interview.

The firm, which is planning an initial public offering this year, has about $900 million of assets under management.

Private equity investment in India nearly doubled last year to $7.97 billion, from a year earlier, according to Venture Intelligence, a research firm.

Companies positioned to benefit from rising spending power in the world's second-most populous country, with an economy growing at about 8.5 percent a year, have been especially sought after by private equity investors.

"These sectors are recession-proof," said Ved Prakash Arya, the firm's managing director, referring to healthcare and education.

Milestone, which has invested $600 million in the Indian property sector, plans to raise a new $110 million real estate fund this year, he said.

"The objective is to help developers as a high-interest rate regime could make availability of funds difficult," he said.

Last week, India's central bank raised interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point -- its seventh rate increase in less than a year -- to clamp down on resurgent inflation.

Milestone plans to make two investments this month in the real estate sector, but Arya declined to name the firms.

Milestone, which is awaiting regulatory approval for its IPO, has hired IDFC Capital, Edelweiss Securities and ICICI Securities to manage the issue.

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