PM exhorts GIFT City to compete with Dubai, S'pore

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday sought to redouble India’s efforts at onshoring multibillion banking businesses that otherwise count Hong Kong, Dubai and Singapore as their established homes in Asia, opening dedicated local units of Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and MUFG and a bullion exchange that will benefit from a unified regulatory framework at the GIFT City.

“Integration with the global markets and supply chain is our major agenda. GIFT City is an important gateway to it,” Prime Minister Modi said, inaugurating a raft of initiatives at the emerging Ahmedabad facility that’s billed as India’s future answer to Canary Wharf. “This will help make India a financial superpower.”

Referring to the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence, Prime Minister Modi underscored the future global role of the GIFT City in helping achieve the national goal of self-reliance in high finance. GIFT City should be a centre of excellence that will rival the continent’s credentialed money hubs, said the prime minister, as complex financial engineering becomes the norm in an increasingly interconnected world economy premised on sustainability.“I want GIFT to be a gateway for global equity and debt capital for sustainable development,” Prime Minister Modi said. “GIFT should compete with the centres in Dubai and Singapore.”

The International Financial Services Centre Authority (IFSCA) is the regulator that will oversee the transactions now traditionally made overseas, providing the unified regulatory infrastructure for businesses housed at GIFT City.

India is the largest consumer of gold. Setting up of the bullion exchange shall

to gain its rightful place in the gold market and serve the global value chain with integrity and quality, IFSCA said in a statement. This is only the third exchange of its kind in the world, which in turn will facilitate the Indian bullion market to become more organised.

As many as 64 qualified jewellers have been roped in. Many more are in discussions to join. Ashok Gautam, an ace banker from Mumbai, is heading the exchange. “We have a huge market for bullion. India should also be identified as a market maker,” Prime Minister Modi said, adding that the bullion exchange is an effort toward that.

The prime minister’s presence marked the formal launch of the NSE IFSC-SGX Connect, a bespoke platform where members of the Singapore Exchange can order Nifty derivatives that can be matched on the NSE-IFSC trading platform. This will deepen liquidity in derivatives deals at GIFT-IFSC, drawing more international investors.

Prime Minister Modi also laid the foundation stone of the building that will be the home of the IFSCA. It is expected to be completed by 2024.


Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that GIFT City has had a milestone impact on the country. “GIFT City is today recognised among global financial centres all over the world,” she said.

Nearly two dozen global lenders, including


, Bank of America, HSBC, Standard Chartered and

, have doubled their consolidated balance sheet size to $35 billion in the past two years since the unified regulator assumed formal status. “Cross-location and cross-border activity among our clients is increasing and GIFT IFSC is uniquely positioned to act as India’s international financial gateway,” said Madhav Kalyan, MD & CEO, JPMorgan Chase Bank India and Senior Country Officer. “It will provide us with the opportunity to offer a wider range of products for our clients as they continue to grow their businesses.”

Trade financing received a kickstart with the IFSCA operationalising four international trade financing services (ITFS).

This will create the first such regulator-initiated ecosystem, globally, for facilitating cross border trade finance with across-the-board participants, IFSCA said.

The unified regulator granted authorisation certificates to at least five FinTech firms including CorpData IFSC, EdgeVerve, a subsidiary of

, Signzy Technologies, UMBO IDTech and Q Krishi Quantum. These are engaged in agriculture technology sectors.

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