Friday, January 13, 2012

Types of Investment and India's low-hanging fruit

I think India is much better placed at the moment primarily because there is lot of low hanging fruit. I attempt to list a few. When it comes to investment we have two kinds of investment. 
  1. The first represents fairly well understood investments where there is ample evidence of cost and benefit and technology is available from the experience of the first world countries. The road-map for development of such infrastructure, its costs, pay-off timelines etc. is well known.
    • Agricultural productivity
    • Basic Infrastructure - roads, power
    • Second-level infrastructure like cold chains, transportation hubs etc.
  2. The second is complicated and more like venture capital where risks are higher. Here the objective is to invest in areas that will value-drivers of the future. Here we are breaking new ground and the pay-offs are not clear. US and first world countries are required to invest in such type of infrastructure.
    • Alternate energy
    • New types of infrastructure including 4G telecom and other related such as NFC payments
    • High-end infrastructure e.g. intelligent Highways etc.
For India, substantial opportunities exists in the first part. This is what makes India an attractive destination. Starting around 1995, a lot of attempts have been made in estimating this demand. Most have been unsuccessful, but a substantial body of knowledge has emerged in this process. Today is the best time of all for companies to undertake massive infrastructure building projects. The question really is, will government facilitate the process balancing protection of citizen's rights and goals of developments.