Over seven years after it was first proposed by the UPA government, the BJP-Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra has revived plans to position Mumbai as a global financial centre (GFC) on the lines of New York, London, and Singapore even as the state sets itself to compete with neighbouring Gujarat, which is working on setting up a Gujarat International Financial Tech (GIFT) City in Ahmedabad.
Senior state officials confirmed that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is planning to announce the revival of the project at an upcoming conclave in the city on February 6 to be attended by senior Union and and state government ministers, besides industry captains.
The conclave is aimed at firming up initiatives meant to transform Mumbai into a global metropolis. An expert committee headed by former World Bank official and consultant Percy Mistry had submitted a blueprint for developing Mumbai as a global financial centre, which envisaged upgrading the city’s quality of infrastructure and governance attract talent from across the world. The committee also made out a strong case for a city manager with direct accountability to its citizens and residents. That is the challenge which the state government will have to surmount.
The Mistry panel report had recommended that in the first phase, Mumbai must connect India’s system with the world’s markets through international financial services. It had further suggested that capacities to compete with established GFCs could then be taken up in the second phase.
The initiative comes at a time when Mumbai has slipped in the competitiveness index for global financial businesses in the Asia Pacific region. A recent international study had ranked it as the lowest on the index. The Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) had listed Mumbai as the worst among 23 financial centres from Asia.