New Delhi: Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman chaired a review meeting, along with a team of Secretaries from the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Corporate Affairs, on the development and growth of India’s maiden International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) at GIFT City, Gandhinagar, on Saturday.
The visit, organised by GIFTCL in collaboration with the state government of Gujarat, saw the presence of Kanubhai Desai, Minister of Finance, Energy & Petrochemicals, government of Gujarat, besides Chief Secretary, Government of Gujarat, and other senior officials of the state. All Indian financial sector regulators also participated in the review meeting.
Presentations were made by Chairman GIFT City, Chairman, International Financial Services Centre Authority (IFSCA) and officials of the government of Gujarat on important milestones and achievements in the journey of India’s maiden IFSC in the past few years, especially since the inception of IFSCA, along with various policy support and incentives extended by the Government.
During the review meeting, the Union Finance Minister emphasised on the need for all stakeholders to recognise and support the identified pathways to elevate GIFT City as a premier financial hub so that it stands out as the best among its contemporaries on the global scale. Sitharaman further said that as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, GIFT City should emerge not only as a lively international centre but also as a global leader in devising solutions to intricate financial challenges, especially in the climate of the current global economic headwinds.
The Union Finance Minister underlined that since GIFT IFSC has been recognised as a fast-moving International Financial Centre, priorities should be set out for attracting more and more business and creating large-scale investment.
Sitharaman exhorted both IFSCA and IRDAI to proactively engage with leading global insurance companies to establish GIFT as a premier global hub for insurance and reinsurance. The Union Finance Minister also emphasised on using maximum the potential of the Indian International Bullion Exchange IFSC (IIBX) in ensuring disintermediation and efficient price discovery and asked RBI to pilot the import of TRQ gold under UAE CEPA through IIBX, which can pave the way for Indian banks efficiently using the IIBX platform.
Sitharaman mentioned that sunrise niche areas such as logistics for precious metals, global insurance, aircraft-and-ship leasing should expand the portfolio of services provided out of GIFT city. The Union Finance Minister appreciated swift actions in streamlining approvals and accelerating infrastructure development, especially for the two Australian universities in line with the Budget 2022-23 announcements. This has helped in garnering interest from numerous global universities in the GIFT-IFSC. The introduction of amenities such as a central park and food courts has notably enhanced the vibrancy and appeal of GIFT City, Sitharaman added.
Union Finance Minister also asked that the Direct Listing of Indian shares on IFSC exchanges already approved by the government must be advocated amongst relevant stakeholders. With reference to making GIFT City as the global hub for accounting and financial back-office functions, Sitharaman noted that a comprehensive legal framework, catering to accounting, auditing, and taxation professionals, will soon be in place to enable them to provide the services to the world. Additionally, the Union Minister urged all financial sector regulators to collaborate in stimulating business activities in GIFT-IFSC.
Later, the Union Finance Minister visited IFSCA Headquarters in GIFT City and addressed the members of the IFSC Authority along with the Secretaries of the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Corporate Affairs. The Union Finance Minister commended all members for their contributions to IFSC's journey thus far and emphasised the importance of sustained efforts to cultivate a favourable environment, and position GIFT-IFSC as a leading global financial gateway.