Union Minister Nitin Gadkari will visit the UK this week to promote the masala bond market for India’s infrastructure needs. The road transport, highways and shipping minister’s three-day UK visit from tomorrow will kick off with a market opening ceremony at London Stock Exchange (LSE), where he will address investors on the opportunities to participate in India’s growth story.
Gadkari will be making a pitch in a keynote address at a UK-India Conclave titled ‘A New Era in UK-India Relations’.
“In order that an active market develops for masala bonds top Indian issuers need to access the market thereby enhancing the liquidity of the masala bond market and also giving international investors the opportunity to have exposure to the Indian Rupee,” said a statement from the ministry.
Masala bonds are bonds issued outside India but denominated in Indian Rupees, rather than the local currency. It is with this objective that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has decided to access the masala Bond market, the statement said.
The NHAI, given its strong linkages to the government of India and its strategically important role to the national economy, is uniquely placed to help attract the widest possible investors to the masala bond market and help in the development of this market, it said.
The NHAI has been conducting a global investor engagement exercise targeted at the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, global macro funds and international asset managers, with London the latest stop in this worldwide agenda.
NHAI’s debut masala bond issuance is also expected to list on the LSE during the ministerial visit.
The transport ministry feels that India’s infrastructure is at an inflection point and wants to channelise the growing investor interest via international bond markets, which are the largest and the deepest source of funding.
The rupee-denominated offshore bonds, popularly known as masala bonds, got a tax benefit in the budget for 2017-18. The instrument has been exempted from taxation for transfer among non-residents, while a low rate of 5 per cent would be applicable for investors till 2020.