Rs 90,000 crore —That’s the bill the state government wants the Centre to foot to help convert Mumbai into an International Financial Centre (IFC).
It was in 2003 that Manmohan Singh, then a senior Congress leader, expressed a desire to see Mumbai become an IFC. The Centre had then set up a high-powered committee headed by former World Bank economist Percy Mistry to see how this was possible.
The committee submitted its recommendations in 2007.
The government is now hoping to expedite the matter and a team of senior state officials including Metropolitan Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad, Secretary of Urban Development (II) Special Projects Manu Kumar Srivastava and other senior government officials will be in Delhi on Friday to put forth the case to the Government of India’s Secretary Urban Development.
The UD ministry had called a meeting seeking state's proposal for the same. Even as Mumbai struggles to get an IFC in place, Ahmedabad has built a financial centre, while Chennai is in the process of setting up one.
“We will need about Rs 3 lakh crore for transforming the region and we are going to give a proposal asking for Rs 90,000 crore from the Centre,” a senior government official said.
One of the recommendations by the Percy Mistry committee was about transforming Mumbai’s infrastructure.
An international hub on the lines of London and Tokyo — a case is made for Mumbai because it falls in a time zone between the two cities. From this centre, international business can be conducted in all financial services, that is, banking, insurance, capital and equity markets.
For Mumbaiites, it would translate into employment boom in the financial services, more global investment, increased revenue and better infrastructure.
The government is proposing to spend Rs 1.10 lakh crore on Metro lines, Rs 57,000 crore on highways and Rs 31,000 crore on suburban railways in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. It also plans to spend an additional one lakh crore for other social infrastructure. By 2031, state planners think this investment in infrastructure will change the face of the city.
Critics said that even if the money comes, reforms essential for a functioning IFC such as amending regulatory mechanism to enable Mumbai to do cross-border financial transactions and mainly capital convertability are unlikely to get cleared any time soon.