Infrastructure Debt Funds (IDFs) 
1. The Finance Minister had in his budget speech for the year 2011-2012 announced the setting up of Infrastructure Debt Funds (IDFs), to facilitate the flow of long-term debt into infrastructure projects. The IDF will be set up either as a trust or as a company. A trust based IDF would normally be a Mutual Fund (MF) while a company based IDF would normally be a NBFC. IDF- NBFC would raise resources through issue of either Rupee or Dollar denominated bonds of minimum 5 year maturity. The investors would be primarily domestic and off-shore institutional investors, especially insurance and pension funds which would have long term resources. IDF-MF would be regulated by SEBI while IDF-NBFC would be regulated by the Reserve Bank.

2. The Reserve Bank had vide its Press Release dated September 23, 2011, issued broad parameters for banks and NBFCs to set up IDFs. Detailed guidelines are set out in the following paragraphs prescribing the regulatory framework for Non Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) to sponsor IDFs which are to be set up as Mutual Funds (MFs) and NBFCs. Such entities would be designated as “Infrastructure Debt Fund – Mutual Funds (IDF-MF) and “Infrastructure Debt Fund – Non-Banking Financial Company (IDF-NBFC)”. All NBFCs, including Infrastructure Finance Companies (IFCs) registered with the Bank may sponsor IDFs to be set up as Mutual Funds. However, only IFCs can sponsor IDF-NBFCs.

Eligibility Parameters for NBFCs as Sponsors of IDF-MFs 

3. All NBFCs would be eligible to sponsor (sponsorship as defined by SEBI Regulations for Mutual Funds) IDFs as Mutual Funds with prior approval of RBI subject to the following conditions, in addition to those prescribed by SEBI, in the newly inserted Chapter VI B to the MF Regulations :

i. The NBFC should have a minimum Net Owned Funds (NOF) of Rs. 300 crore and Capital to Risk Weighted Assets (CRAR) of 15%; 
ii. Its net NPAs should be less than 3% of net advances; 

iii. It should have been in existence for at least 5 years. 
iv. It should be earning profits for the last three years and its performance should be satisfactory;

v. The CRAR of the NBFC post investment in the IDF-MF should not be less than the regulatory minimum prescribed for it;

vi. The NBFC should continue to maintain the required level of NOF after accounting for investment in the proposed IDF and

vii. There should be no supervisory concerns with respect to the NBFC.

Eligibility Parameters for IFCs setting up IDF-NBFCs 

4. Only NBFC-IFCs can sponsor IDF-NBFC with prior approval of the Reserve Bank and subject to the following conditions.

i. Sponsor IFCs would be allowed to contribute a maximum of 49 percent to the equity of the IDF-NBFCs with a minimum equity holding of 30 percent of the equity of IDF-NBFCs,: 

ii. Post investment in the IDF-NBFC, the sponsor NBFC-IFC must maintain minimum CRAR and NOF prescribed for IFCs

iii. There are no supervisory concerns with respect to the IFC.

Tripartite Agreement 

5. IDF-NBFCs will enter into Tripartite Agreements to which, the Concessionaire, the Project Authority and IDF-NBFC shall be parties. Tripartite Agreement binds all the parties thereto to the terms and conditions of the other Agreements referred to therein also and which collectively provide, inter alia, for the following:-

i. take over a portion of the debt of the Concessionaire availed from Senior Lenders,

ii. a default by the Concessionaire, shall trigger the process for termination of the agreement between Project Authority and Concessionaire,

iii. the Project Authority shall redeem the bonds issued by the Concessionaire which have been purchased by IDF-NBFC, from out of the termination payment as per the Tripartite Agreement and other Agreements referred to therein (compulsory buyout),

iv. the fee payable by IDF-NBFC to the Project Authority as mutually agreed upon between the two.

6. NBFC and IFCs that fulfill the eligibility criteria as above may approach the Central Office of the Department of Non-Banking Supervision, Reserve Bank of India, Centre I, World Trade Centre, Cuffe Parade, Mumbai – 400 005 for sponsoring IDFs as MFs and NBFCs, as applicable.

Investment by NBFCs and IFCs in IDFs

7. The exposure of sponsor NBFCs / IFCs and non-sponsor NBFCs / IFCs to the equity and debt of the IDFs would be governed by the extant credit concentration norms as given in para 18 of the Non-Banking Financial (Non-Deposit Accepting or Holding) Companies Prudential Norms (Reserve Bank) Directions, 2007.

8. Notification containing the detailed guidelines issued with regard to regulation of IDF-NBFCs viz; DNBS.PD.No.233/CGM (US)-2011, dated November 21, 2011 are enclosed for meticulous compliance. As regards foreign exchange related aspects of the functioning of IDF-NBFCs, a separate circular is being issued.

Source : RBI/2011-12/268
November 21, 2011
Applicable To All NBFCs excluding RNBCs 

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