Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan rings bell at London Stock Exchange to list Masala Bonds (VIDEO & PICTURES)
By A Staff Reporter LONDON May 17: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan rang the bell at the London Stock Exchange to mark the listing this morning (Friday May 17, 2019) for the 2,150 crore of masala bonds sold by Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIFFB). Masala bonds are debt paper sold overseas by an Indian entity and denominated in rupees. A brainchild of state finance minister Thomas Issac, who is also an economist, the government thinks it can attract funds and rebuild infrastructure in Kerala, which was devastated by last year’s floods. Analysts say that the bond sale may, however, not spark a rush of debt issues as investors are unlikely to take on currency bets at a time when US-China trade tensions are flaring up. KSFE Pravasi Chit Fund Launch On May 17, 2019 afternoon (today) the KSFE Pravasi Chit fund will be launched at 2pm at The Montcalm Royal London House Hotel in Liverpool Street in London. The chit funds are the latest in a series of measures taken by Kerala government to attract funds, working the market for capital expenditure back home. Vijayan launched the pilot phase of the chit fund scheme in June 2018 in the United Arab Emirates, a favourite destination of non- resident Malayalees, to raise ₹10,000 crore in two years. The money is meant to finance their hallmark policy initiatives such as building wide roads and establishing better public schools, and hospitals, which is a priority as the state suffered one of its worst floods in 2018. The state got 125,000 leads for the fund within a fortnight of the launch. This year, Isaac said, the state wants to raise ₹25,000 crore by expanding the scheme to other markets. The scheme is primarily aimed at Kerala expatriates, who form almost 10% of the state’s 30 million population and send home more than ₹1 trillion every year. At 8-18% return offerings, the chits are also sweetened with life-term insurance cover, pension, and other benefits. The 2018 Kerala flood, which ravaged the state and claimed 483 lives, was among the major disasters reported globally in the last year, including the California wildfire and the floods in Japan. The Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) report prepared by a UN team said Kerala would need Rs 31,000 crore for rebuilding.