MUMBAI’S LOSS .. IFSC to be set up in Gandhinagar; govt notification draws flak from Pawar

MUMBAI: A row has erupted over the positioning of the International Finance Services Centre (IFSC) in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. This after a gazette notification was issued by the Centre on April 27 to this effect. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar has criticised the central government’s decision and said it must be in Mumbai, as was first proposed in 2006 by then prime minister Manmohan Singh. 

However, conditional to this offer was that the state government should improve the communication –road and rail – infrastructure. Nothing has happened other than the introduction of a Ghatkopar-Andheri Metro line, and the then Congress-NCP government in the state slept over the matter. The last BJP=led Maharashtra government headed by then chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had, as an alternative proposed setting up of two IFSCs, one in Mumbai and another in Gujarat. This did not find favour from the Centre.
In year 2017, the then Union finance minister Arun Jaitley had stated in Parliament that under the circumstances, the IFSC will be set up in Gujarat, not Mumbai. 

International agencies are reticent about setting up units in Mumbai because of the traffic problems, lack of space, and chaotic nature of the city. This is also reason why the western metropolis failed to take advantage of the IT revolution, and other cities like Bangalore and Pune easily caught up with it some 30 years ago. The scenario is progressively worsening in Mumbai.
Hints are that the IFSC could generate direct employment to about a lakh of youths and indirect employment to another one lakh. The argument put forward by the Centre was that Mumbai was not in a position to accommodate the kind of activity and manpower the IFSC would require because of its extreme congestion levels.
Pawar, seeing a political advantage to whip up locals’ feelings in Maharashtra, said this will also be perceived as a move to shift financial institutions and business houses away from Maharashtra and will create unnecessary political disturbances.”
This will not only cause financial damage to the country but also bring international discredit to it by undermining the importance of Mumbai,” Pawar said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. According to Pawar, the central government receives government securities (G-sec) of Rs 5.95lakh crore from Maharashtra alone as against Gujarat’s contribution of Rs 1.40lakh crore.
He also claimed Mumbai has been recognised as the world’s top ten centres of commerce. “If you see the general psyche of all business communities, bankers and other financial institutions, Mumbai is their natural choice for setting up such a unified authority,” Pawar said in the letter. IHN-NN

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