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Maha budget: Mumbai set to be global hub for Fintech

Maharashtra FM said the state would launch a policy to promote innovative financial services

mumbai Updated: Mar 10, 2018 14:34 IST
Tanushree Venkatraman
Tanushree Venkatraman
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,sudhir mungantiwar,Maharashtra budget
A video grab of the Mumbai Coastal Road Project from Kandivli to Princess Street. While there were no big-ticket infrastructure announcements, Mungatiwar said the tender process for the Rs7,502 crore Versova-Bandra sea link is currently in progress.(Photo courtesy: BMC)

The state government plans to make Mumbai the global hub for Financial Tech or Fintech businesses, and in a bid to facilitate that the government has already chalked out a policy for development of Fintech ecosystem in the city.

State finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, while announcing the budget for the year 2018-19, said that it has been decided to launch an innovative Fintech Policy to promote innovative financial services particularly to the poor, who are not fully served by the formal banking sector and provide employment to educated youth.

The policy was unveiled and cleared by the state cabinet before the three-day Magnetic Maharashtra global investors’ summit in mid-February. “This new policy provides for setting up a Fintech Hub in Mumbai. Capital support for setting up various common facilities in this Fintech Hub will be made available,” Mungantiwar added in his budget presentation.

The state also allocated Rs3.5 crore for the strengthening and upgradation of Haffkine Institute. Mungantiwar said the state plans to establish a National Venom Research Institute, where it would give scholarships to students. Besides that, the allocated sum would be used for construction of hostel and guest house, maintenance of director’s residence, residences of employees, main building and purchases of minor research equipment and so on.

Meanwhile, the state government, which is reeling under a financial crisis, did not have any major big-ticket infrastructure projects. The budget only maintained a status-quo on all on-going infrastructure projects in the city.

Among the major projects for Mumbai, Mungantiwar said that the tender process for the Rs7,502 crore Versova-Bandra sea link (VBSL) is currently in progress. The VBSL is an important part of the coastal road project, which plans to connect south Mumbai to the western suburbs by a series of tunnels, sea links and reclaimed roads. It is expected to be completed by 2020. The state has also made a provision of Rs130 crore as subsidiary loan for the ongoing metro projects in the city.

Both, the sea link and the Rs4,797 crore Mumbai-Pune Expressway capacity augmentation will be completed by raising loans against toll concession rates, a senior official from the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC), the implementing agency said.

The government’s financial crisis is hemmed in by the burden of the farm loan waiver (Rs34,000 crore) and the seventh pay commission (Rs21,500 crore).

At the start of his budget speech itself, Mungatiwar gave emphasis to the Shivaji Maharaj memorial to be built off the Mumbai coast. The state has made an allocation of Rs300 crore this year for the project. “Additional funds will be made available as per pace and need of work through supplementary budget,” said Mungantiwar.

The 210-metre tall statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is expected to be built in 36 months. The state has also allocated Rs150 crore for the year 2018-19 for building a memorial of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar at Indu Mills in Dadar.

For the Mumbai Urban Transport Project’s (MUTP) Phase 3A, the central government provided a token provision of Rs1 crore. Aimed at modernising the existing rail system, the Rs54,000 crore MUTP-3A will be undertaken on a 50:50 cost sharing pattern between the central and the state government. Mungantiwar also mentioned that the first runway of the Navi Mumbai airport will be functional by December 2019 and the Rs17,000 crore Mumbai Trans Harbour Link will provide direct connectivity to the airport.

First Published: Mar 10, 2018 01:20 IST