Likely to extend 350 bn yen of soft loans over next few yearshttps://indianexpress.com/article/business/business-others/likely-to-extend-350-bn-yen-of-soft-loans-over-next-few-years/

Likely to extend 350 bn yen of soft loans over next few years

Applauding the Indian government’s efforts at improving ease of doing business, Shinya Ejima, chief representative, JICA India office in an interview that the agency is looking at a range of projects in India.

With over 200 billion yen worth of fund commitment to India in 2014-15, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) may be expected to provide a significant portion of the 3.5 trillion yen investment promise by Japan government to India. Applauding the Indian government’s efforts at improving ease of doing business, Shinya Ejima, chief representative, JICA India office told Surabhi in an interview that the agency is looking at a range of projects in India. Excerpts:

What is your target for financial cooperation with India this fiscal?

We are financing many infrastructure projects in India but we are not a commercial bank. We are a bilateral cooperation agency and financing is one of our tools.

Our commitment base in the last fiscal was unfortunately, below 200 billion yen as due to the transition in the government, approvals were slightly delayed.

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But we are seeking very early conclusion of these loan agreements in this first quarter.

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan last year, the government of Japan had expressed its commitment to India for 3.5 trillion JPY both in public and private investments. Though we have not been asked by our government to commit ourselves, but most probably JICA will be expected to provide a significant portion at about 300 to 350 billion yen through soft loans over the next few years.

Is JICA interested in working with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation beyond the ongoing Phase III?

At this moment, we are still focusing on Phase III, which is targeted to be completed sometime next year. We may probably talk about this after Phase III and of course, many other city metro projects are also seeking financial assistance.

But we have a good relationship with Delhi Metro and if they continue to ask us to work with us, it is quite possible. We are also working on metro projects in four other cities, including Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai.

Is JICA interested in road projects in India?

We were involved in many national highway projects in the 1980s and the 1990s but the policy of the government has changed over the last decade to public private partnership. We are now looking at special road projects such as improvement of road network in the

Northeast, which is also one of the top priorities for the current government. Probably, within the span of the current fiscal year, we will sign loan agreements for one or two such projects in the region.