‘Greater coordination needed among regulators’: Nirmala Sitharaman at GIFT City

The finance minister said that the international bullion exchange which was expected to go live on October 1 was seeing “small delays” and would soon become operational.

Greater coordination is required among regulatory authorities including those dealing with stock exchanges operating within the upcoming financial hub in Gandhinagar, said Union Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman who was on a day-long visit to GIFT City in Gujarat on Saturday.

“This visit was long overdue. I had wanted to come here with the secretaries well before the Covid-19 lockdown happened… However, I am glad to be here with all secretaries of finance. We had very useful interaction and the entire leadership of GIFT City and IFSC were with us all through the day, showing us the physical assets and telling us about the future plans. But in the process we realised that there are quite a few things on which greater coordination is required among the authorities dealing with the stock exchanges and also among the regulators. They are not major concerns, but it is possible to sit around a table and sort it out,” Sitharaman told mediapersons after finishing her meetings.

She said SEBI, IRDA and RBI needs to talk about themselves, while the stock exchanges also needed interact with each other.

The finance minister said the international bullion exchange which was expected to go live on October 1 was seeing “small delays” and will soon become operational.
“I was glad to hear that the bullion exchange will soon come into play, for which all the necessary infrastructure inclusive of safe vaults are all ready and operational. So, the bullion exchange will be big game changer for India because as you in India we consume a lot of gold and every gram of gold that we consume is imported. To have an exchange in India and to determine the price being one of the leading buyers in global gold market will be a big important milestone,” she said.

While the discussions were largely centred around IFSC, the focus was on achieving “exponential growth” at GIFT City and make it a “gateway” for international financial services, officials who attend the meeting told The Indian Express.

“One important area that came up for discussion was to make local settlement of foreign currency possible at IFSC. Currently, the dollar settlements happen outside India,” the official added.

The minister, who was accompanied by a team of seven secretaries and ministers of state for finance Pankaj Chaudhary and Dr Bhagwat Karad, said she also suggested to the GIFT City authorities to develop the immediate periphery of IFSC and make it more “dynamic”.

Sitharaman said the meetings held on Saturday largely dealt with exploring avenues for attracting more companies to GIFT City.

“I have also suggested that there should be an interaction with leading start ups – not those dealing with fintech — but startups dealing with different activities who are present in Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Gurugram to be brought here,” she said adding that the Gujarat government agreed to the idea of interaction.
Talking about her recent visit to Washington, Sitharaman said she suggested to some of the US companies to move their core businesses to GIFT City. “Many of them expressed willingness to do so and we have shared the list of companies with the authorities here (in Gujarat),” she added.

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