WITH NOT enough land in the city to meet the minimum requirement for a special economic zone (SEZ), the Maharashtra government is set to urge the Centre to make an exception to the rules for Mumbai, in order to create an ambitious international financial services centre (IFSC) in the Bandra Kurla Complex.
As per norms, an SEZ can be declared for a minimum area of 50 hectares, while the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has set aside 20 hectares in the plush Bandra Kurla Complex’s G Block for the IFSC.
Sanjay Sethi, Additional Metropolitan Commissioner at the MMRDA, said, “We are going to ask the Union government to consider 50 hectares in built-up area instead of in plot size to meet the minimum requirement for an SEZ. This is allowed in case of SEZs for informational technology services. Mumbai is a land-starved city, and it is difficult to get 50 hectares of absolute land, while achieving the same in built-up area is possible.”
Sethi said officials from the MMRDA and the state government had discussed this with the Union Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Trade and Commerce, and would soon send a formal proposal.
SEZs are specifically delineated areas with an aim to attract foreign direct investment.
An IFSC is a designated area that is outside the jurisdiction of the domestic economy and permits the flow of financial services and products across borders with ease.
Gujarat’s GIFT City, the first designated IFSC in India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet initiative, has been given the status of a multi-specialty SEZ.
The city, located 12 kilometres from the Ahmedabad International Airport and 8 kilometres from Gandhinagar, is to come up on 358.55 hectares, of which 105.62 hectares are SEZ area.
Mumbai was originally positioned as an IFSC a decade ago. Former finance minister P Chidambaram announced a regional financial centre in Mumbai 10 years ago in the 2005 budget and an expert committee headed by Percy Mistry submitted a report to back it. But the concept did not take off until earlier this year when GIFT City got the backing as India’s first IFSC.
A senior official, who did not wish to be named, said the state government would be asking for the same legal and regulatory framework granted to the GIFT City SEZ. “We will also ask for some additional benefits for the Mumbai IFSC to give it an advantage over Gujarat,” he added.
A chief minister-constituted task force jointly headed by former Deutsche Bank chief executive Anshu Jain, and State Bank of India Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya is currently working on a detailed roadmap for the Mumbai IFSC plan.