ICICI Bank receives RBI nod for Infrastructure Debt Fund

ICICI Bank receives RBI nod for Infrastructure Debt Fund New Delhi: Leading private sector lender ICICI Bank has received an in-principle approval from the RBI to set up the country's first Infrastructure Debt Fund (IDF).

The fund would cater to the country's fast growing infrastructure sector, which requires investments worth USD 1 trillion in the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2012-17). Out of the total amount, around 50 percent is expected to come from the private sector.

Market sources said that ICICI Bank has got in-principle approval from the Reserve Bank of India to set up the IDF.

Once floated, this would be the first IDF in the country, they noted.

As per norms, ICICI Bank would have to set up a non-banking finance company to float the IDF, sources said.

An IDF may be set up either as a trust or company. While the trust-based IDF (Mutual Fund) would be regulated by Sebi, an IDF set up as a company (NBFC) would be regulated by RBI.

In his last Budget speech, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had mooted the idea of IDFs to accelerate the flow of long term debt in infrastructure projects.

Earlier on Friday, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said that it expects operationalisation of at least one IDF in the next fiscal.

"I dont believe that finance is a constraint. There are some proposals to set up infrastructure debt funds in the country. We expect that one of the fund would be operational in the coming financial year," Ahluwalia said.

PTI