The Centre’s decision to locate the newly created International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) Authority in Gandhinagar is “disappointing, and a move against Mumbai’s established status as the nation’s financial capital, NCP leader Sharad Pawar said on Friday.
“The stature of the Prime Minister is such that s/he should always rise above his/her state. The decisions should be broad, inclusive and of a national level. Therefore, we will urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reconsider the decision and retain Mumbai’s status as an international financial services centre,” Pawar said at a Loksatta web interactive series titled ‘Sathicha Gazhal Maharashtracha’.
The series, which began on Friday, on the foundation day of the state, will host all former chief ministers of Maharashtra, and will end with a talk by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
Pawar was interviewed by Loksatta editor Girish Kuber and associate editor Mukund Sangoram.
Stating that he hopes all political parties will come together to oppose the Centre’s decision to set up this new Authority in Gandhinagar, Pawar said, “Mumbai has always been the country’s economic capital, and it has its distinct identity. It is the leading industrial city. The decision to shift the IFSC Authority from Mumbai to Gujarat is disturbing.”
He said, “The decision to locate the IFSC Authority in Gujarat is not a right decision. We will pursue the matter with the PM and urge him to reconsider the decision and relocate it in Mumbai.”
The IFSC Authority is a unified agency to regulate all financial services in international financial services centres in the country and was notified earlier this week. It will be located at the Gujarat International Finance Tech City in Gandhinagar.
On the challenges in the light of the nationwide lockdown, and its resultant economic fallout, Pawar said putting the economy back on track remains a formidable challenge. “Greater focus on agriculture, industrial and infrastructure is a must. It calls for higher investments. For this, the Reserve Bank of India along with other financial institutions will have to provide incentives and plans on loans and interest rates. The RBI will have to take bold decisions.”
Stating that this was not the time to do politics, Pawar said the Prime Minister should convene an all-party meeting for wider consultations.
The former Union minister and former Maharashtra CM said: “The task ahead is to reassure industries, (and ensure) their survival along with workers. The lockdown has affected key sectors such as agriculture, industries and infrastructure. There are concerns and a fear of increase in unemployment and closure of industrial units; these have to be tackled. The industrial belt of Mumbai, Pune and Nashik will have to be restored to get the state’s economy moving in the right direction.”
Therefore, he said “ad hoc lockdown across this belt will not work. The government will have to take a practical decision to ease the lockdown with guidelines for safety of the people.”
The Centre should provide more financial stimulus to revive infrastructure and accommodate the concerns of jobless workers, he said.
Referring to the Governor’s decision against accepting the state Cabinet’s recommendation to nominate Uddhav Thackeray to the Legislative Council, Pawar said, “The state is reeling under the Covid-19 pandemic. It would have been better if politics was kept out of it in such a situation.”
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