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Abhilash brings more than 12 years of experience of working with all tiers of governments (Centre/State/Local), multilateral/bilateral agencies (such as DFID, KFW, World Bank, IFC, ADB and UNCDF – Bangladesh) in India and Bangladesh on policy advisory, capacity building and transaction advisory (PPPs) assignments in urban sector.

Having worked with more than 50 Urban Local Bodies (Municipalities) across India and Bangladesh, he brings fair understanding of issues at city/local level related to service level efficiency, governance and municipal finance. His experience with ULBs includes preparation of smart city plans, city planning and development strategies, municipal finance studies (revenue enhancement plans and credit-worthiness frameworks) and providing handholding support in implementation of reforms to enhance efficiency of municipal services.

He also brings exposure of providing transaction advisory support (Project structuring, financial model, RFP documents and bid process assistance) to various government bodies on several PPP projects in the areas of water, waste water, solid waste management, modernization of bus terminals and other real estate projects.

Abhilash holds bachelor degree in civil engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee and post-graduation in urban planning from School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), New Delhi, India. 

At present, working as Associate Director at Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International based out of Delhi. Prior to RTI, he has also worked with ICRA Management Consulting Services Limited (IMaCS) and CRISIL Infrastructure Advisory.


Experience in urban development sector across policy advisory, transaction advisory and capacity building is summarised below.

  1. Smart Cities/ City Planning and Development strategies: Having involved in preparation of City Development Plans (CDPs) of more than 50 Urban Local Bodies across country, I bring fair understanding of issues at local government level related to governance, institutional and administrative etc. Recently led teams for preparation of Smart City proposals (SCPs) for Rampur, Raebareli, Ajmer, and Kota under Smart City Mission launched by Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Govt. of India (GoI), in capacity of Team Leader cum Urban Specialist and senior team member.
  2. Urban Reforms and Municipal finance: led team to support Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Govt. of India for a period of four years for carrying out “appraisal of reform implementation under JNNURM for north eastern states”, it also included providing handholding support to respective State and ULB officials on same. Supported UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), Bangladesh in developing “credit rating framework for ULBs in Bangladesh” considering their existing creditworthiness status based on filed visits to six municipalities across Bangladesh. He has also supported team on a DFID funded assignment for “Developing a Model for Capital Market Financing of Urban Infrastructure” under Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), GoI. During, 2009-10, have worked with Urban Administration and Development Department of Madhya Pradesh (MPUADD) to “study and recommend rationalization of taxes, tariffs, and level fixation across four towns (Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur and Gwalior)”, which has resulted in rationalization of the water tariff from INR 60 to INR 180 per month in Bhopal and enhancement of revenue from property tax by 50% across municipalities. As a part of administrative and structural reforms for Guwahati Municipal Corporation, have carried out their “institutional development study” which was used by State Finance Commission (SFC) of Assam to recommend the staffing pattern in the municipalities across the state.

Some other key assignments showcasing experience in Urban reforms are:

  • “Credit mapping of 21 identified cities in India” for International Finance Corporation (IFC), WB Group.
  •  “Design of the Orissa support for Urban Infrastructure (OUSI) Project: Study to inform existing knowledge gaps” for a DFID support program;
  • “Study on status of Municipal Accounting systems in selected ULBs of India for National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA)” by providing inputs in the identification of cities and assessment of existing status of the ULBs;
  • “Documentation of Good Practices of Municipal/ City level Water Supply and Sanitation Projects in Indian cities”;
  • “Streamlining Procurement & Contracting Processes, Post Contract Management Processes, Financial Processes, and Integration thereof” at National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA); and
  • “Fiduciary Systems Assessment of three ULB’s under the Model ULB sub-component and Chennai Corporation” for the Sub-Project Component of TNSUDP a World Bank funded project.
  1. PPPs and transaction Advisory: Worked as PPP and ULB Creditworthiness Expert (from March 2015 to December 2016) in a DFID funded Technical assistance (TA), "Odisha Support for Urban Infrastructure (OSUI) project" and helped government in project identification, structuring of project under PPP mode and financial modelling, preparation of bid documents and support in bid process management in areas of a) water testing laboratories, b) affordable housing, c) modernization of bus terminals, d) SWM and others.

He had also worked with several government agencies to support to select the private partner for development and operations of projects in water, waste water reuse, land development and telecom sector. Some of the key assignments are:

  • Preparation of Feasibility report and RFP documents for utilization of the plot of HPMC at Salt Lake City on PPP mode and supporting selection of Private developer (estimated Project Cost Rs. 4500 million);
  • Transaction advisory support for PPP for Urban Ranchi Water Supply” (estimated Cost Rs. 3000 million); and
  • Advised Universal Service Obligation fund (USOF), Department of Telecom (DOT), Government of India in structuring and bidding out “subsidy support for shared extension of mobile networks in rural areas in India” (Project with outlay of Rs. 30,000 million over 7 years);

Additionally, also led/supported teams on several PPP policy related assignments, some of them are:

  • Mapping of Urban PPP projects” to bring out the existing status and outlook of PPPs in urban sector across selected 12 states for International Finance Corporation (IFC)”;
  • “Solid Waste Management PPP toolkit” for Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), GoI under ADB support;
  • During Nov 2010 to March 2012, managed PPP database for Department of Economic Affairs, where I have analyzed status of PPPs across country and across sectors as per GOI’s PPP definition.
  1. Project identification and development:
  • Feasibility study and preparation of Business Plan for setting up an Urban Infrastructure Fund and Asset Management Company in Orissa;
  • Handholding support to Govt. of Odisha under KFW support for creation of an urban infrastructure fund at state level, which has led successfully creation of an urban fund called Odisha Urban Infrastructure Development Fund (OUIDF) of Rs. 400 crore and selection of project development agency to manage the fund;
  • Supported Infrastructure Development Department (IDD), Govt. of Karnataka’s (GoK) initiative on “Institutional Strengthening & Sector Specific Inventory for PPP Mainstreaming” for Directorate of Municipal Administration, Karnataka by handholding the creation of a PPP Cell at department level and prepared feasibility reports and procurement plans for the following five (5) selected PPP projects in Water, Waste Water, SWM and Street lighting.
  1. Master Planning/ Techno-economic feasibility studies: Being involved on Master Planning assignments, have also acquired knowledge of various aspects of urban planning such as infrastructure planning, market survey and research, development control regulations and bye-laws. Some of the key assignments includes
  • Techno-economic feasibility studies of an IT-ITES and Bio-tech services SEZ & Education City in Maharashtra for a Pvt. developer;
  • Detailed Project Report (DPR) for a Theme Park at Mumbai-Pune Express way” (Adlabs Imagica) for Pvt. developer;
  • A theme based real estate development project encompassing around 100 acres of land in Navi Mumbai for a Pvt. developer;
  • Master Planning of Apparel & Textile SEZ (170 acres)” at Pallipuram, Allapuzza Kerala for CRISIL/ KSIDC;
  • Techno economic feasibility Study for SEZ at Kangra and Palwal, Himachal Pradesh (1000 Ha) & Haryana (5000 Ha) for a Private developer.
  1. Program Management Experience: He also bring experience of leading and working on long term project management projects where teams were deployed at client place to support them in project implementation. In his role in these PMU assignments requires to perform technical as well as project managerial tasks. In technical capacity, tasks assigned were structuring of projects, financial modelling, preparation of RFPs etc. and supporting/ reviewing of reports/ presentations of other team members. while in project manager’s role, it included client coordination, management of the resource pool (includes more than 20 professionals), their deployment or retention, Appraisal, ensuring compliance, review of time sheets, timely processing of remunerations, timely invoicing to client and collection of the same. Key PMU projects include:
  • DFID funded Technical assistance (TA) Odisha Support for Urban Infrastructure (OSUI) project;
  • Program Management Unit for steering implementation of urban water projects under three Investment Programs (two of which are being funded by International Financial Institutions) for a 4-year period for Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (KUIDFC); and
  • DFID funded Technical Assistance Projects Kolkata Urban Services to Poor.