GIFT city Current Affairs - 2019
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The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved setting up of a unified authority for regulating all financial services in international financial services centres (IFSCs) in the country. The government has approved a bill to set up a unified regulator.
The first IFSC in India was set up at GIFT City in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
Promoting the Ease of Doing Business
IFSCs are set-up to bring back the financial services and transactions that are currently carried out in offshore financial centres by Indian corporate entities and overseas branches or subsidiaries of financial institutions (FIs) to India.
In order to ensure this, the business and regulatory environment must be comparable to other leading international financial centres in the world like London and Singapore. Currently, the banking, capital markets and insurance sectors in IFSCs are regulated by multiple regulators like the RBI, SEBI and IRDAI respectively.
For IFSCs to attain its objectives there is a need for inter-regulatory coordination. The establishment of a unified financial regulator for IFSCs will result in providing a world-class regulatory environment to market participants from the ease of doing business perspective.
For the setting up of a unified regulator, the Union cabinet has approved the International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill, 2019.
Belgium has become the first country to open an honorary consulate office in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City), Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Belgium already has two Consulates-General in Mumbai and Chennai, and an honorary consulate in Kolkata. The consulate was inaugurated by Belgian Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, Pieter De Crem.
Hari Sankaran, Vice-Chairman and MD, Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS), has been nominated as Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of Belgium to the state of Gujarat. Gujarat and Belgium have strong historic ties surrounding the diamond industry.
GIFT is a central business district (CBD) located between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar in the state of Gujarat. GIFT will be built on 886 acres of land to provide high-quality physical infrastructure with facilities like electricity, water, gas, district cooling, roads, telecoms and broadband services to woo finance and tech firms to relocate their operations from Mumbai, Bangalore, Gurgaon etc. GIFT will include a special economic zone (SEZ), international education zone, integrated townships, an entertainment zone, hotels, a convention center, an international techno park, Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) units, shopping malls, stock exchanges and other service units. The likely cost of the GIFT City project is Rs 70,000 crore.
Gujarat International Finance Tec-City Company Limited (GIFTCL) is responsible for developing and implementing the project. GIFTCL is a joint venture of Gujarat Urban Development Company Limited (GUDCOL) and Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS).