Vibrant Gujarat: Direct listing of cos in GIFT City expected soon, says Nirmala
Gandhinagar: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday exuded confidence that direct listing of firms in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) would start soon as this emerging international financial hub is helping India connect the West with the Global South.
Speaking at a seminar on “GIFT City—An Aspiration of Modern India” as part of the ongoing 10th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit here, she said the much-awaited direct listing of stocks at the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in GIFT City would happen soon to enable Indian companies to access global funds easily.
“We are going through the process in a very systematic manner and I’m confident it will happen at the earliest,” Sitharaman said while sharing the contents of the discussion of the three-hour-long closed-door meeting held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with nearly 30 global CEOs at GIFT City on Wednesday evening as part of the biennial Summit.
The IFSC should shoulder the responsibility of being the gateway to the world in fulfilling the vision for India to become a developed nation by 2047, Sitharaman said, adding that it should also become the platform for the trade of carbon credit.
“We need to have a greater understanding of how we can handle the carbon and green-related issues.”
India, the FM said, has a funding gap of USD 10.1 trillion to meet its net zero carbon commitment by 2070.
Currently, around USD 52.7 billion valued in such securities are listed on the IFSC exchange, including USD 10.18 billion in green bonds, social bonds, sustainable bonds, and sustainability-linked bonds.
GIFT City is also exploring new areas, like blended finance and de-risking mechanisms, and longevity finance which can open up opportunities in wealth management, insurance, pension, and medical tourism as well.
This new hub now has three exchanges, including the International Bullion Exchange, 25 banks (including 9 foreign banks), 26 aircraft lessors, 80 fund managers, 50 professional service providers, and 40 fintech entities.
Sitharaman said most of the global financial hubs earlier looked only at capital but GIFT City has the distinction of getting financial services infused with state-of-the-art technology that can enable cross-border facilitation and tokenization.
“This fusion today gives us a lead advantage. And that lead advantage is coming when India’s growing the fastest in the world.”
Sitharaman said that retail participation in stock markets in India is another distinct feature of the financial sector reforms initiated by the government.
“Because of the local market and economic conditions, our stock markets have survived and flourished. These comforts are coming because of stable policy, and macro-economic strength of India,” she asserted.
The FM also underlined that the government has taken a clear position to strengthen shipbuilding activities in India. “It is a high-risk venture which requires a lot of money …Leasing entities here in GIFT city will be able to access global finance and use the capacities of our shipping yards to make India a good manufacturing hub for shipping lines.”
Sitharaman said the financial technology adoption in India is at the highest rate at 80 to 87 percent as against the global average of 64 percent. Given the rapidity with which technology is going to influence India’s financial inclusion, GIFT City should be the place for finance and technology-related entrepreneurs.
“We aim to build here a diverse fintech laboratory for the world.”
Applauding GIFT City, she said if India is a bridge between a developed Western world and the Global South, then GIFT City is the gateway.
“The number of entities registered in IFSCA was only 129 in 2020, but as of October 2023, there are 580 entities 78 management facilities have registered, and 76 Alternative Investment Funds are here. The total targeted corpus is USD 20 billion,” she said.