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Issue Rs 150-cr tax-free bonds in June
May, 27th 2009

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) plans to come up with tax-free institutional municipal bonds worth Rs 150 crore after the new UPA government places the budget in June this year.

This is the fifth municipal bond being issued by AMC. The civic body had pioneered this method of collecting funds from members of public and corporate houses in 1998.

AMC has already the sent its proposal to Central government requesting an extension of its previous intent for tax-free bonds till March 31 next year.

Meanwhile, a strategised approach to build institutional equity in public is being carried out by AMC. The corporation has already laid bare its works in terms of bridges, water and storm water drains, institutional service deliveries.

Sensing the market trends that would see investment in infrastructure, the bonds are an attempt to create a benchmark in terms of effectiveness and efficiency.

The funds garnered through tax-free municipal bonds would be diverted to meet 35 to 50 per cent of capital costs of the developmental projects listed under JNNURM and other civic facilities. The Put and Call' option for the bond is five years, according to AMC sources.

At present, AMC finances are being monitored by credit rating agency called CARE. Last year, the ministry of urban development had permitted AMC to issue tax-free bonds worth Rs 150 crore on March 8 in 2007, but with higher interest rates prevailing in the market then, AMC had desisted from entering into the market till September later that year.

"The Union government had set a cap of less than 8 per cent for issuance of tax-free bonds. It was precisely for this reason that we kept the bonds in abeyance till now. The interest rates and inflation rates are under control and the situation seems conducive," says a senior AMC official.

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