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Mumbai seen ideal as global financial centre

Our Bureau

MUMBAI, April 8

THE Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has mooted development of Mumbai as an international financial centre.

At a seminar to discuss the `way forward' with regards to the regulatory, legal and infrastructure policies in this regard, CII has suggested that Mumbai is an ideal place for an international financial centre due to the presence of a large number of financial market players such as banks, insurance companies, stock exchanges, capital market intermediaries, etc.

Availability of high-quality support lawyers, accountants and the high level of connectivity to international destinations also work in Mumbai's favour, according to CII officials.

However, CII has said that to make Mumbai a successful model for an international financial centre will require changes in many of the regulatory policies and procedures required by Indian law.

Speaking at the seminar, the Maharashtra Chief Minister, Mr Vilasrao Deshmukh, said, "With the creation of an international or offshore financial centre, Mumbai could attract large funds which can be serviced by the human resources and infrastructure already available here." Through the CII Task Force, a core group with representatives from the State Government, RBI and other organisations has been set up to work out the details. Whatever model proposed will require a suitable dispensation from the Union Government and the RBI, said Mr Deshmukh.

The proposals will have to address issues like money laundering, taxation and banking regulations; and so, the Union Government and the RBI might prefer a gradual approach, he said. However, he added, that a gradual approach might leave India lagging behind in the world economic scene. "In developing an international or offshore financial centre here, we have international experiences to draw on," he said.

Mr Deshmukh said that the investment climate in Maharashtra has improved. The foreign direct investment that Maharashtra attracted in the last two-and-a-half years was almost equal to FDI approved in the previous eight years.

"There is a new stress on the creation of world-class infrastructure in partnership with the private sector. We want to have an Act to provide a transparent framework for public-private partnerships in infrastructure so that it will add confidence in investors," he said.

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