Fadnavis’ pet biz hub project at BKC gets Centre’s thumbs down
The Ministry of Commerce has refused to give the financial Special Economic Zone (SEZ) tag to the project as there is no contiguous parcel of 50 hectares of land at BKC, a mandatory requisitemumbai Updated: Oct 18, 2017 00:58 IST
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ pet project, to set up an International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) at Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai, has hit a road block that may prove to be difficult to overcome for the government.
The Ministry of Commerce has refused to give the financial Special Economic Zone (SEZ) tag to the project as there is no contiguous parcel of 50 hectares of land at BKC, a mandatory requisite. Without the tag, the IFSC cannot avail tax sops and as such the mandarins in the state secretariat are back to the drawing board to work out how to set up a financial hub with this handicap.
The Centre’s refusal comes even after the state handed over the land required for the bullet train project at BKC, despite concerns about the project coming at the cost of the finance hub. Currently, the Gujarat International Financial Tech City in Ahmedabad is the only IFSC in the country.
Fadnavis on Tuesday admitted the Mumbai IFSC project had not got the finance SEZ tag from the Centre owing to land constraints.
He, however, said the state government was exploring various options and alternatives to get the IFSC back on track in a similar or different avatar.
“There is a preliminary proposal to see of we can set up Fintech hub at BKC instead and as such I have set up a committee to draft the state’s fintech policy,” said Fadnavis.
Fintech or Financial Technology refers to technological innovations in the financial sector that are changing banking operations and financial services. For instance, mobile payments, retail banking and even crypto currencies like bitcoin come under the ambit of fintech.
“We are looking to set up an incubation centre for such fintech start-ups and create an eco system for a hub,” said an official associated with the project.
He, however, said despite the hiccups, the state would go ahead with the master plan for the IFSC by the end of the year.
The state has already branded the IFSC as North 51.
The master plan for the IFSC, commissioned by the nodal agency, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), includes layout, land reservations, land use and all urban design guidelines for the proposed financial hub.
But despite the optimism among state officials, there is inadequate support from the Centre for the Mumbai IFSC project.
Earlier, the Centre had sent back the state’s proposal to consider 20 hectares plot at BKC and the rest in built-up area to meet the requirement of 50 hectares given the land crunch in the city.