Budget may bolster Mumbai's plans for global financial hub

The upcoming union budget is expected to spell out plans to realise a long-pending proposal to develop Mumbai into an international financial services centre (IFSC), with the government on Friday saying that it is keen on transforming the city into a global financial hub.

''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,'' minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha said on Friday.

But, for Mumbai to find a place in the international financial map like Dubai and Singapore, which have made their presence felt, the city should nurture firms that would be handling money from across the world. That needs changes in regulatory and taxation fronts.

''We understand that if we get banks and investment firms here, there will be more capital deployed into the economy, there will be more jobs,'' Sinha said addressing a 'Mumbai Next' here.

He said the government and various financial sector regulators, including RBI and Sebi, are weighing new sets of norms to be applicable to IFSCs (International Financial Services Centres), which can be set up in different parts of the country for domestic and international investors.

The `GIFT City' in Gujarat could be the first of the international financial service centres to be set up under this new regime, while another IFSC can be developed in Mumbai, the country's financial capital, he said.

The county's commercial capital and the city hosting the highest economic activity in the country, Mumbai already had the status of the country's financial capital as well.

Citing advantages like the city's position on the international time zones, experts have long been demanding that the city be elevated to the level of a global financial centre.

India gets at least four working hours with the Londong lobal financial centre, which can attract the stakeholders, they point out.

''The strategic location, stable environment and industrious people in Mumbai make it very well placed,'' Sinha said, adding a place like the centrally located business district of Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) can play host to all the storied names in high finance.

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the state government is already working in this regard, although much of the work has to be done by the centre.

''I feel the first thing, which was expected from the government towards making BKC a global financial centre we have already started working on it and our role as the local government is to create the ecosystem,'' Fadnavis said.