The Maharashtra government plans to develop its ambitious International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) as a financial technology (fintech) hub. Focusing on fintech, said officials, would help the government avail special benefits from the Centre. Highly placed sources in the government said the decision to promote fintech would also help override certain glitches being faced by the IFSC project. “The primary concern relates to seeking the consent from the Centre for the Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which mandates 50 hectares of unencumbered land. Though the state has acquired 52 hectares of land for the IFSC, it is split in two plots — 40 hectares and 10 hectares — in the vicinity of the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC),” said a senior official.
To overcome the problems arising out of the SEZ conditions, the government is exploring various options. While one of these is to amend the present laws to facilitate the SEZs in the existing 52 hectares, the other is to relocate the SEZ to any other city such as Nagpur where land parcel is not a problem. At the next meeting scheduled in Mumbai post Diwali, the IFSC task force led by Union minister Jayant Sinha would work on the proposal to address the hiccups. The focus will be on incorporating fintech projects.
“Fintech is the latest buzz world over as it provides services beyond banking. It is estimated that shift to fintech would register growth at 7 to 7.3 per cent annually,” said a secretary-level officer in the Ministry of Finance. Explaining the concept, he said, “Fintech is perceived as the model to boost growth and also job creation through banking, financial services and insurance operations.” CM Devendra Fadnavis has already said the government plans to develop Mumbai as the fintech capital, Pune the information technology capital and Nagpur the logistics capital of India.
A senior officer involved in the IFSC project said, “Fintech would support and enable banking and financial services through applications of technology. This would help in improving the financial activities with new applications, processes and products.” Through IFSC, the state government wants to give the BKC a distinct identity as a business centre. The Rs 70,000-crore project is expected to boost international business activities in banking, financial services and technology. According to conservative estimates, the project is likely to generate around 15 lakh jobs.