Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today said work on establishing a International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) here should have started two decades ago itself. “I think we are late by 20 years…20 years back we should have started the activity of developing Mumbai as IFSC,” he said after inaugurating a branch of Japanese lender SMBC in the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC).
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“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,” he said. Maharashtra was governed by a Shiv Sena-BJP government two decades ago under Manohar Joshi. Fadnavis said his government has already appointed a master planner to design the IFSC which 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 proper IFSC, Mumbai can be hottest place in 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. Work on 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. India already has one IFSC working 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 then Union Minister of State for Finance, for the purpose which also has top bankers in it. Meanwhile, Fadnavis also exuded confidence of starting the fast speed ‘Bullet Train’ from BKC itself.
“The fast train will also start from BKC very soon and I think there have been some problems. But they are sorted out now. We are about to take the decision,” he said. He also thanked that 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.