Gujarat International Finance Tech-City is India's first smart city with infrastructure purpose-built for a global financial hub.
When Citibank received a license from the IFSC Authority to set up its banking unit at India’s first International Financial Services Centre at GIFT City in Gujarat, it became the latest entrant to the dynamic new financial hub that's at the heart of India's fintech revolution.
With this, Citibank will become the first US-based bank to set up a branch in GIFT (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City) IFSC and will be servicing both Indian as well as its global customer base from the branch in Ahmedabad.
The announcement from Citibank comes close on the heels of the Bombay Stock Exchange revealing that it would like to launch trading in foreign stocks at its GIFT City arm India International Exchange (India INX). "India INX will, in the first phase, provide access to over 130 exchanges across 31 countries in America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa,” it said in a release.
Domestic investors will be able to transact on the proposed platform within the liberalised remittance scheme (LRS) limits set by the RBI. “The addition of global stocks is a significant step that will bring further investment into the region from investors seeking contracts with a strong emphasis on liquidity and investability,” said Ashishkumar Chauhan, Chairman of India INX.
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These concerted moves are the latest endorsements for GIFT City, India's obstacle-free gateway to the world of complex global finance. The project has gained sufficient traction in the past two years to achieve what was considered improbable a decade ago, with tweaks to existing rules helping the facility rival global financial hubs and draw business that was earlier only an overseas monopoly.
After the Gujarat government tweaked the rules regarding ownership of houses in GIFT City, three new real-estate developers have pledged to develop millions of square feet of residential space. “After the change in rules, three new firms have come forward to build houses in GIFT. All of them are based in Gujarat. With this addition, 33 lakh square feet of allotment rights have been given to six developers for residential projects,” said a GIFT City official.
Nila Spaces Limited is the biggest of the trio that will develop 5,128 square metres of land. A subsidiary of Ahmedabad-headquartered Sambhaav Group, the real-estate firm listed on the BSE is the latest to receive the allotment from GIFT City. Others include Kaavyaratna Group, which is already building a string of housing projects on the GIFT City road in Gandhinagar, and Ahmedabad-based Savvy Group, along with ATS Group, which will develop 2.2 lakh square feet of residential space. This joint venture company has already developed a commercial tower in GIFT IFSC.
Alongside the swift development of real estate assets, investors and companies are also seizing the opportunity to relocate businesses that were earlier never possible to operate from India.
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The Indian government-owned General Insurance Corporation (GIC Re), seventh largest non-life reinsurer globally, has decided to put its Dubai branch into run off mode - and instead the reinsurer will now run the Dubai business from the GIFT City IFSC.
During the quarter ended June 21, GIC Re decided to place its Dubai branch into run-off because of non-renewal of license by Dubai authority,” GIC Re said in a stock exchange filing. The decision to place the Dubai Branch into run off, has been informed to insurance regulator IRDAI vide letter dated July 6, 2021, it said. “GIC Re has decided to continue the activity/ operations relating to the Dubai branch from GIFT City, India,” it said. The board of GIC Re also accorded its approval and to carry out suitable statutory requirements if any on July 7, 2021 by a circular resolution.
With the likes of Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Bank of America, Standard Chartered and Barclays also opening up offices at GIFT City IFSC to facilitate rising Indian trade and capital movement, the financial hub in Gujarat has swiftly turned into a shining example of India's growing prowess in the global financial services industry.