In the 2018-2019 Union Budget, a record allocation of $92 billion for infrastructure investments shows the Modi Administration’s priority commitment to infrastructure development. With several major initiatives, the government has been pushing to achieve ambitious targets set in the first half of Modi’s term – these initiatives include the Smart Cities Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), SagarMala for port development, BharatMala for national highway development, the various Dedicated Freight Corridors, robust support for expanding capacity in the civil aviation sector and modernizing the railway network.

The government has proposed through numerous initiatives financial programs to support various investments and sectors, for example the establishment of NIIF. Two smart cities – Pune and Bhopal – have successfully turned to the bond market to raise financing for priority projects. However, the major challenges in Infrastructure remain including land acquisition and project bottlenecks ranging from slow approvals to financial concerns. India’s project execution capabilities along with the availability of infrastructure project financing continues to be a challenge to the success of the government’s flagship infrastructure initiatives.

In the past few years, certain states have demonstrated a commitment to economic growth. These states have placed an emphasis on urban development, logistical connectivity and energy security leading to industrial growth and job creation. In addition, there are states whose leaders have expressed a strong commitment to stream lining their processes and to emulate other successful state-initiated models with tremendous results and strong uptick in investments over the past few years.USIBC’s advocacy efforts going forward will focus on policies tied to critical issues including new sources and models of infrastructure financing such as green bonds and municipal bonds, land use & acquisition, successful PPP implementation, and other reforms that directly impact investors and companies. Additionally, the U.S. Government’s increased focus on the Indo-Pacific Initiative will provide business with new streams of opportunity in the region for the energy and infrastructure sectors.

  • Foster the development of a long-term debt market in India, one with enough depth to be able to finance capital-intensive infrastructure projects – complimented with the development of India’s green financing or municipal bond markets.
  • Encourage the establishment of a dedicated PPP implementation structure and facilitation mechanism for private sector, including an independent dispute resolution body.
  • Introduce single window clearances for smooth bureaucratic procedures, improve decisiveness, including fast tracking approvals processes and reduce the need for multiple approvals.
  • Highlight specific business-friendly states that have demonstrated a track record of performance that ensures a fair and stable investment environment for global investors.
  • Streamline clearance and permitting processes for infrastructure projects, specifically related to land acquisition; encourage land acquisition before inviting bids.
  • Advocate for a fair, transparent, and streamlined bidding process. Shift the selection process away from the lowest bidder and towards the best value including Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) relevant and environmental performance. Encourage a more inclusive pre-tendering process that involves experienced consultants to ensure accuracy in scope and understanding of project risk and finance.
  • Lower tariffs in a range of key components and products that will deepen collaboration between American companies and their Indian counterparts, including current duties on heavy equipment and machinery, gas turbines and chemicals.
  • Support full implementation of India’s Infrastructure Debt Fund, ensuring its success as an effective financial vehicle mobilizing investment into India’s Infrastructure sector.
  • Emphasize that quality, safety, and maintenance – elements where U.S. firms excel – should be incorporated into contract procurement for Indian-led projects.
  • Approach infrastructure development across all sectors in a coordinated fashion that includes substantial and contiguous parcels of land being acquired for projects before inviting bids from contractors, (as opposed to bidding projects with a minimal percentage of land on the assumption that the remaining land required will be acquired and financed over time).

  • Interfaced with major banking institutions and export credit agencies, including the Export-Import Bank of the United States and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, to facilitate financing for projects and other technologies suitable for India’s energy infrastructure sector.
  • Provided successful trade promotion, including exports of U.S. equipment, technologies, and services to meet India’s Smart Cities Initiative and their Energy Storage and Smart Grid RTM through joint workshops and roundtables with the United States Trade Development Agency (USTDA) and the Ministry of Urban Development in India.
  • Led Cleantech and Smart cities trade missions to India to promote member companies products and services with key Central and State Governments.
  • Hosted Government of India Reverse Trade Missions and facilitated site visits to showcase USIBC members’ smart cities projects and technologies.

Frank Hollowell directs USIBC’s Infrastructure, Energy and Smart Cities portfolio from on the ground in Mumbai. His focus in the infrastructure space includes identifying specific sectors and projects which represent attractive opportunities for members. In addition, Hollowell is identifying initiatives to support India’s $1 trillion infrastructure investment over the next decade through dialogue regarding best practices on regulatory, skilling, project management and effective leadership.

Prior to joining USIBC, Hollowell led the Project Research team for CG/LA Infrastructure, a DC-based infrastructure advisory firm. His role facilitated partnerships between governments and companies to enable international finance, EPC, technology and equipment providers to enter new markets. Hollowell began his Washington, DC career on Capitol Hill as a Legislative Assistant for two Members of Congress who served on the Transportation & Infrastructure and Appropriations Committees.

Hollowell holds a master’s degree in International Trade and Investment Policy from the George Washington University, and bachelor’s degrees in Business Economics and International Affairs from University of California Riverside. Born in London, and having lived in France, Mexico, Italy, United Kindgon and California, he claims San Diego as his hometown. He speaks French, has played rugby for 17 years, and lives with his wife Molly in Mumbai, India.
For more information, please contact Frank Hollowell.

Jasjit Singh leads the U.S.-India Business Council’s Manufacturing & Infrastructure programs. Prior to joining USIBC, Jasjit was a Senior Advisor in the Obama Administration, the Executive Director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), and a Senior Consultant with Deloitte. He was selected to serve on the Secretary of Homeland Security’s Faith-Based Initiative as well as the Executive Committee for NCAPA, the largest Pan-Asian Advocacy Coalition.

Jasjit has provided written and oral testimony to the U.S. Congress and he has appeared on various media outlets and published Op-Eds for the New York Times, Politico, Washington Post, Huffington post, National Public Radio, and CBS Radio. His recent awards include The Asian Pacific American Institute of Congressional Studies (APAICS) Community Pioneer Award and University of Illinois Outstanding Asian American Alumni of the Year Award. Jasjit is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign College of Business. He is also a Truman National Security Fellow and an Asian American Journalists Association Media Institute Fellow.

For more information, please contact Jasjit Singh.