Instead of competing with GIFT City in the Prime Minister’s home state and jostling for space at the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), the BJP-led Maharashtra government is pushing for Bandra Kurla Complex as a front-end for all activity.
The state government has proposed a ‘hub and spoke’ model for Bandra Kurla Complex in central Mumbai and GIFT City, which is being created at about 12 kilometres from the Ahmedabad international airport and 8 kilometres from Gandhinagar.
Under this model, the Maharashtra government is pitching for Bandra Kurla Complex to be the hub for major financial institutions, while they set up a larger base for more extensive activities in GIFT City. A state government official said, “The Prime Minister has been apprised of this idea, and we will be discussing the proposal this week in a meeting of the joint task force of the Centre and state.”
Union Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, who has lived in Mumbai and used to work in Bandra Kurla Complex, heads the task force. The official added that both Bandra Kurla Complex and GIFT City have their respective advantages and disadvantages, which make both centres apt to work in cohesion as a ‘hub and spoke’ system.
“GIFT City has an advantage in terms of ample and cheaper land. With higher FSI, we may make that kind of space available in Bandra Kurla Complex, but it will come at a very hefty price. Mumbai, on the other hand, has ample front-end value. It has better recreational avenues, health and education facilities, a mega city feel and basically the entire eco-system that higher level executives desire to live in,” the official said.
The state government has been pushing for Bandra Kurla Complex to get the same concessions granted to GIFT City as an SEZ. Gujarat’s GIFT City, the first designated IFSC in India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet initiative, is coming up as a multi-specialty SEZ on 358.55 hectares, out of which 105.62 hectares has been declared as SEZ area.
On the other hand, the Devendra Fadnavis-led Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the special planning agency for Bandra Kurla Complex, has set aside 20 hectares in the business district for the IFSC. The MMRDA has submitted a proposal to the Union government to allow it to show 50 hectares, the minimum requirement for a multi-specialty SEZ, in built-up area instead of absolute area for Bandra Kurla Complex considering Mumbai’s space constraints.
However, it is also considering boundary extensions to juggle around and show 50 hectares in absolute area, counting the space kept for roads, open spaces and other infrastructure.