Mumbai: A day after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis informed the Assembly that he would build an International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) here, the Congress on Saturday termed it as “an absolute lie” and accused him of selling out the state’s interests.
“This is an absolute lie and the CM is simply fooling the people of Mumbai and Maharashtra. It is clearly impossible to build an IFSC in the Bandra Kurla Complex since a business hub of this magnitude requires an area of at least 50 hectares as stipulated by international norms,” Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam said.
Accusing Fadnavis of having “sold out” the state’s interests to further Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Gujarat concerns, he demanded to know whether there is such a huge space available in the BKC to set up a world-class IFSC.
“From the CM’s statement in the assembly, it appears he intends to build another World Trade Centre at best and pass it off as an IFSC… This is like taking the people of Mumbai for a ride,” he said.
Nirupam pointed out that it was under the erstwhile UPA Government that Mumbai was selected to set up the country’s first IFSC on the lines of New York, London, Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai or Tokyo.
However, this was shifted to Gujarat after the Bharatiya Janata Party assumed power in 2014, causing a huge potential loss of business to Mumbai.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had also categorically stated in Parliament that the proposed IFSC will be developed only in Gujarat and the country cannot have multiple such centres.
“This is the truth and all that Fadnavis is speaking now is to mask the truth and comtradicting his own party’s finance minister,” Nirupam said.
It was during the UPA regime that a special panel of the World Bank in 2007 had submitted a report selected Mumbai as the IFSC’s site.
However soon after the Modi government came to power, the IFSC was moved to the neigbouring state as ‘Gujarat International Financial Tec-City’ (GIFT), to the detriment of Mumbai, Nirupam added.
In fact, on January 11 this year, Reserve Bank Of India Governor Urjit Patel celebrated the successful establishment of India’s first ever IFSC at the GIFT City, in Gandhinagar.
Terming it as the first such IFSC in the world to be launched after the 2008 global financial crisis, Patel said the RBI is working closely with all the stakeholders on diverse subjects for the development of the GIFT city.
In October, the Global Financial Centres Index 22 listed GIFT-IFSC at the 10th rank – ahead of Luxembourg, Seoul, Abu Dhabi, Toronto and Beijing – of the 15 IFSCs in the world, and growing at a rapid pace.