Contrary to expectations, the Budget has preferred to focus on Gujarat's GIFT City for development as a global financial centre over financial capital Mumbai.
"Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) in Gujarat was envisaged as an International Finance Centre that would actually become a good an international finance centre as Singapore or Dubai," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said during the budget speech.
It can be noted that a conference on transforming the city earlier this month had extensively discussed Mumbai's BKC commercial district as a financial hub, which had also received Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha's backing.
"We are keen to transform Mumbai as a global financial centre. It is a necessity that we have to create Mumbai as a global financial centre," Sinha had said then.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had also hinted on some announcements in the Budget on the same issue.
Fadnavis had said confidentiality issues in the run-up to Budget preparation were putting "constraints" on Sinha, but "reading between the lines," it was clear to him that there would be something in budget to address Mumbai's ambitions.
The Chief Minister immediately could not be reached for comments today. The government promised to introduce the necessary changes in the statutes in March.
"Appropriate regulations will be issued in March," Jaitley said, adding, the first phase of the hub will soon become a reality.
Centres like Dubai and Singapore have made their presence in the international financial map. For such a facility to materialise here, firms within such centres, which would be handling money from across the world, should enjoy special treatment on regulatory and taxation fronts.
The government and various financial sector regulators, including the RBI and the Sebi, are mulling over a new set of norms to be applicable to an international financial centres.