Centre planning global financial hub in Gujarat

Tuesday 20th January 2015 06:29 EST

India’s plans to set up an international financial centre on the lines of London, Shanghai and Hong Kong could soon become a reality with the government of India working on guidelines that would allow for these facilities at the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT).

The finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of India are understood to be finalising norms for international financial services centre that would allow for facilities such as offshore banking, currency convertibility, reinsurance hub and an international exchange to be set up at GIFT City.

“The discussions are on and the norms are expected to be finalised soon,” said a person familiar with the development, adding that a formal announcement could be made in the Union Budget 2015-16 next month.

Financial services secretary Hasmukh Adhia, too, had announced that the norms are being finalised by the RBI and the finance ministry and would be announced soon. These norms, that have been pending for long, would also give a big boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project of the GIFT City that he had proposed in 2007 as chief minister of Gujarat. To be built at an estimated cost of Rs 780 billion, the smart city that is spread over 886 acre was conceived as a global financial and IT services hub that would create business and employment in the state.

However, the absence of these guidelines have come in the way of development of the proposed city even though lenders such as State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda and HDFC Bank have taken space in GIFT City.

Bombay Stock Exchange has also signed a memorandum of understanding with GIFT City SEZ Ltd to invest Rs 15 million for setting up an international stock exchange in the planned city. The new exchange will provide electronic platform for facilitating trading, clearing and settlement of securities, commodities, currencies, other classes of assets and derivatives by international investors.

Located about 12 km from the Ahmedabad International Airport and 8 km from Gandhinagar, GIFT City is a 50:50 joint venture between Gujarat Urban Development Company Limited (GUDCL) and Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (ILFS) Limited.

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