MUMBAI: The commerce ministry is examining a proposal to declare an international finance centre (IFC) in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Centre (BKC), BJP MP and member of Maharashtra task force Poonam Mahajan said. A decision will be taken in six to eight months and India could well end up with two IFCs in neighbouring states as Maharashtra government is very keen on the proposal.
The finance ministry and the state government are working to accommodate the proposal within the rules governing financial special economic zones (SEZs).
These rules stipulate a minimum land requirement of 50 hectares. BKC’s IFC now only has 35 hectares and government officials are trying to work some kind of an arrangement to make BKC compatible with financial SEZ rules.
Maharashtra government officials and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis are strongly pushing for the IFC and Union Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha is also believed to be favourably disposed towards the proposal.
The knotty issue of minimum land requirement remains to be sorted out. Top state government officials said Sinha is working with the commerce ministry to ease this rule for BKC to enable it to qualify as a SEZ. A government official said they could exempt BKC from this rule or include all nearby land within the IFC. State officials are also arguing that the minimum requirement was kept so high as SEZs were largely envisioned as manufacturing enclaves.
Sinha is the chairperson of the task force created by the Maharashtra government to make IFC a reality while Mahajan is the deputy chairperson.
Once the Commerce Ministry approves the proposal, BKC would get the same incentives that GIFT (Gujarat Financial Internation Tec City) is getting like tax holidays, exemption from dividend distribution tax, long term capital gain tax, securities transaction tax and commodity transaction tax.
“In the meanwhile we are going ahead by talking to experts and readying our master plan for IFC. We don’t want to delay things from our end, as we plan to begin construction in BKC by next year,” said Mahajan.
Credits ET Realty