Mumbai’s International Financial Services Centre to finally become a reality

[] Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has said that the work on establishing an International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Mumbai, should have started two decades ago

Pointing out that his government has already appointed a master planner to design the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in Mumbai, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, on March 21, 2017, said that the project was late by 20 years. “20 years back, we should have started the activity of developing Mumbai as an IFSC. Mumbai is not only the financial capital of India but we hope that in the years to come, it will play a major role as an IFSC,” Fadnavis said, after inaugurating a branch of Japanese lender SMBC, in the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC).

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The IFSC is proposed to be built at the BKC business district, which already houses a host of financial institutions including SBI, ICICI Bank, Citi, Bank of America Merill Lynch and others. “I think if we can structure it and if we make a proper IFSC, Mumbai can be the hottest place in the financial world,” the CM said, adding that despite not being formally recognised as an IFSC, it ranks fifth in a global list of financial centres.

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Work on the IFSC involves identifying a specific geographical area and turning it into a special economic zone, which will be governed by a separate set of specially-made legal framework. This places an IFSC at par with global financial centres.

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India already has one IFSC at the GIFT city adjoining Ahmedabad. Question marks are being raised over Mumbai’s bid, with some critics pointing out that there is no precedent, except China, where a single country has two IFSCs. The GIFT top brass has also questioned the need to have a second IFSC in Mumbai.

The Maharashtra government has appointed a task force under Jayant Sinha, the former union minister of state for finance, for the purpose, which also has top bankers in it. Meanwhile, Fadnavis also exuded confidence of starting the high-speed ‘bullet train’ from BKC. “The fast train will also start from BKC very soon. There have been some problems but they are sorted out now. We are about to take the decision,” he said. He also thanked the Japanese government agencies, for helping finance a slew of infrastructure projects in the financial capital and sought its help with financing of the Nagpur-Mumbai communications super highway.

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