Projects and Projects Finance

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the society in an unanticipated and unprecedented way. To contain its spread, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India vide its order dated March 24, 2020 directed closure of commercial and private establishments for a period of twenty one days. Immediately thereafter, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) issued an order dated March 25, 2020 directing the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to take action as per the said MHA order (including suspension of tolling operations on the toll plazas) and added that prevailing condition may be treated as ‘force majeure’ under the concession agreements executed by NHAI with the developers.

MoRTH thereafter directed NHAI to resume toll collections from April 20, 2020. However, the suspension of toll operations until April 20, 2020, the lockdown period thereafter and the steep fall of the traffic plying on the national highways, has significantly impacted the entire transportation industry, exposing developers to high risk and financial distress with no visibility of normalcy in the near future.


Continue Reading Covid-19: Bumpy roads ahead for Highway Sector

After more than three months of lockdown, there is no denying that the Indian economy has been impacted. This is also evidenced by the stimulus packages announced by the Government of India, in an attempt to protect and revive the economy. With most people staying indoors 24*7, electricity consumption in the commercial sector was also impacted initially, although the levels have been restored in a phased manner. This coupled with different lockdown strategies in different states, is also continuing to impact business at large. Taking into account the impact of COVID-19 across the globe, and the lockdown in the country, the government of India and certain central agencies have been providing clarification and issuing memorandums/notifications to guide the infrastructure industry, specifically the renewable energy (RE) sector, and RE projects in terms of COVID-19 being declared as a force majeure (FM).


Continue Reading COVID-19 Cloud Cover: Not so sunny times for renewable energy sector!

Covid-19 – Navigating choppy waters for Port Projects

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedent crisis throughout the world and has caused widespread disruptions in normal operations across industries and life in general. In India, the National Disaster Management Authority determined that India was threatened by the spread of Covid-19 pandemic and took steps to prevent the spread of the pandemic in the country under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. On March 24, 2020, the Ministry of Home Affairs declared a 21-day lockdown under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 with effect from March 25, 2020. Such lockdown has been subsequently extended three times by the Ministry of Home Affairs and now remains in force till May 31, 2020.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has been issuing guidelines to determine the operation of essential and non-essential services during the period of lockdown and has attempted to restrict movement of persons throughout the country. The guidelines have caused States to close their borders and even movement within a State has been prohibited, unless it is in relation to an essential service. At the time of the first order of lockdown, the Ministry of Home Affairs excluded the ‘operation of seaports for cargo movement, relief and evacuation and their related operational organisations’ from the ambit of the lockdown. However, due to the disruptions in the supply chain, the inter-state and intra-state movement restrictions and the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, there has been an impact on operational as well as under construction port projects.
Continue Reading Covid-19 – Navigating Choppy Waters for Port Projects

Covid-19 - Flight Plan for Indian Aviation Industry

Covid-19 crisis has severely impacted almost all industries but disruptions in the airline industry is so profound that it is assumed to be greater than the combined crises of 9/11 and the 2008 global financial put together. The Government of India (acting through DGCA) (“GoI”) has vide its (i) order dated March 23, 2020 passed under Section 88(1) of the Aircraft Act, 1934; and (ii) orders dated March 26, 2020 and April 14, 2020 directed inter alia all aircraft operators to suspend the operations of all the domestic flights and all scheduled international commercial passenger services until May 3, 2020. The forward air travel bookings are far outweighed by the cancellations. Air travel demand is drying up in ways that are unprecedented with no semblance of normalcy on the horizon. For an industry which is already stressed, Covid-19 has only accelerated the process of bankruptcy filing by several companies (like Virgin Australia and Air Mauritius). Those airline companies which are still in business have also suffered misfortunes as coronavirus-forced lockdowns have kept their fleets grounded. Per the market sources, apart from the pay cut, several airline companies (Indigo, Go Airlines) have also taken other cost cutting measures including furloughs.
Continue Reading Covid-19: Flight Plan for Indian Aviation Industry

The idea of Mumbai Metro - Is the world developing or dying?

The Mumbai metro project (“Metro Project”) was conceptualised to develop an efficient and sustainable urban transport system in the financial capital of the country, involving  a significant investment of USD 2,500 million.[1] Every day some 80,00,000 commuters use the city’s suburban rail system, enabled through more than 2,800 trains a day. The network is severely overcrowded during peak hours when the number of passengers exceed the network’s carrying capacity by more than four times, leading to numerous safety hazards.[2]

Last year witnessed a massive protest for saving the Aarey milk colony located in suburban Goregaon (“Aarey’), a green belt with over 5,00,000 trees, a rarity in the concrete city. The construction of a metro car depot on the flood plains of the Mithi river at Aarey for expansion of metro services in the city received much wrath from environment activists, citizens and even courts for cutting down 2,600 trees overnight. While there is a stay on cutting more trees until the matter is sub-judice, the construction work of the Metro Project was not stopped, until the outbreak of a worldwide pandemic, COVID-19 or Coronavirus.
Continue Reading The Idea of Mumbai metro- Is the World Developing or Dying?

Interplay of Data Analytics, AI and Infrastructure Investment

Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics

The global race to augment capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) is intensifying in both advanced and emerging economies. From optimising power generation and transmission, diagnosis and drug discovery, improving learning environment, enhancing design and functionality, to automation in logistics, AI will not only continue to evolve but possibly surpass human intelligence in the near future. Today’s digital age is overflowing with valuable data which if appropriately analyzed can predict results, making data analytics an indispensable tool for any corporate to sustain in the economy.
Continue Reading Tomorrow’s Technology in Today’s Infrastructure: Interplay of Data Analytics, AI and Infrastructure Investment

Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) developed the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL Convention) with the aim of preventing pollution of the marine environment by ships. Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships are provided for in Annexure VI to the MARPOL Convention and they seek to control airborne emissions from ships by prescribing limits on emissions.

Today, the shipping sector accounts for 12% of global sulphur dioxide emissions, 13% of global nitrogen oxide emissions and 3% of global carbon emissions.[1] Shipping fuel constitutes 7% of the global transport oil demand – however, global shipping emissions account for 90% of the transport sector’s sulphur emissions.
Continue Reading Laundered Air on the High Seas- IMO 2020

Prohibition of Insider Trading Regulations 2015 in India , Amendments

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) ended the year with a bang by issuing a number of notifications on December 31, including the SEBI (Prohibition of Insider Trading) (Amendment) Regulations, 2018 (PIT Amendment Regulations). The PIT Amendment Regulations come into force on April 1, 2019 and will have significant impact on the manner in which listed companies and intermediaries navigate the market conduct framework.
Continue Reading A New Year Ushers in the Insider Trading Regulations, 2015 Version 2.0

 Toll Operate and Transfer model - NHAI

With a view to monetise the operational national highways, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) introduced the Toll Operate and Transfer (TOT) model for partnership with private developers in the road sector. Under this model, NHAI passes on the toll collection rights and operation and maintenance obligations for 30 years to the private developer against payment of upfront, one-time, lump sum concession fees quoted by the private developer as part of the comprehensive bidding process. Projects under this model are awarded as a bundle of operational national highways, which allows the investor to offset the risks of one project against another. Since existing and operational roads are auctioned under the TOT model, it does not need developers with construction skills to participate.
Continue Reading Toll Operate Transfer Model – Gateway to New Opportunities in Highway Sector

At least since 2012, there has been a fair amount of legal uncertainty on the ambit of powers of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) and the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) under the provisions of the Electricity Act, 2003 (the 2003 Act) to award what came to be known as a “compensatory tariff” in case of tariff-based competitively bid power generating projects.

The issue took centre stage in 2011-12 with the promulgation of regulations by Indonesia, which barred export of coal from that country below a certain benchmark price. A number of Indian power project developers had submitted aggressive tariff bids during 2006-2009 relying on the import of relatively cheaper coal from Indonesia to India to fuel their power projects.


Continue Reading SC Clarifies the Scope of Regulatory Power under Section 79 (1) of Electricity Act, 2003