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Fadnavis revives bid for IFC in megapolis

Devendra Fadnavis

Mumbai:  After losing out to neighbouring Gujarat for hosting the country’s first international financial centre (IFC), Maharashtra has revived its efforts to have a similar set-up in the city’s swanky Bandra Kurla Complex.

Maharashtra, which has been at the forefront of industrial development, is keen to have an IFC in the nation’s financial capital, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told a select group of reporters on the sidelines of an event over the weekend.

He added that a fresh proposal from the state to have the IFC is presently with the finance ministry.

The state wants to have the IFC at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), which already houses names like Citibank, Standard Chartered, ICICI Bank, Bank of Baroda among others, the Chief Minister said.

Fadnavis said once the state gets the go-ahead, guidelines issued by RBI and Sebi for the already operational GIFT City in Ahmedabad, will be applicable for the proposed IFC at BKC as well.

The state had been lobbying hard for having an IFC at Mumbai and was hoping to get a clearance from the last Budget.

However, the Budget did not have any mention of it and spoke only about the GIFT City in the Gujarat Capital, which was finally launched early April.

This also led to pressure from the Opposition to fast track the proposal, with Congress demanding that Fadnavis should take up the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Ahead of the Budget, the issue was extensively discussed at an industry conference on transforming the city. BKC as an IFC had also received the backing of junior finance minister Jayant Sinha.

“We are keen to transform Mumbai as a global financial centre. It is a necessity that we have to create Mumbai as a global financial centre,” Sinha had said then.

Fadnavis had also hinted on some announcements in the Budget on the same issue.

Fadnavis had said confidentiality issues in the run-up to the Budget preparation were putting “constraints” on Sinha, but “reading between the lines,” it was clear to him that there would be something in the Budget to address Mumbai’s ambitions.

It can be noted that almost all major lenders have announced their intentions of setting up shop at the GIFT City which will save them the hassles of setting up base abroad.

Even though a lender may physically be present in the country, an IFC status ensures that it gets treated as a foreign entity. Generally, such centres are used for global fund raising activity and also fulfilling domestic clients’ foreign funding requirements.

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