Tax SOP’s in Budget 2019 Gives Impetus to Indian IFSC at GIFT City, Gujarat – Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, National President NAREDCO

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11 July 2019, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
Union Budget presented by Hon’ble Finance Minister opens up floodgates of incentives for India’s first IFSC known as Hiranandani Signature located at GIFT city, Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

Union Budget presented by Hon’ble Finance Minister opens up floodgates of incentives for India’s first IFSC known as Hiranandani Signature located at GIFT city, Gandhinagar, Gujarat. In order to promote infrastructure and development of world class financial hub, some tax concessions have already been provided to varied businesses operated out of IFSC like Banking and Financial services, Insurance and Reassurance etc. The Union budget opened plethora of additional tax SOPs with an intention to create a favourable environment for Indian as well as global financial service players to operate from Indian IFSC. The idea is to provide much required impetus to the Indian International Financial Service Centre as a thriving financial hub competing with the global players like London, Dubai, Singapore etc.

IFSC international business is around $56 billion comprising around $22 billion by the banking and $30 billion by insurance units. Over the next few years, GIFT IFSC alone could contribute $1 trillion to Indian industry and infrastructure and help achieve the $5-trillion GDP target over the next few years. To achieve this ambitious target, Finance minister granted lucrative tax exemptions and holiday which will attract more competitive businesses to be operational at GIFT IFSC.

The announcement of direct tax incentives of 100 percent profit –linked deduction under sec 80- LA in any ten year block within a fifteen year period shall give a major thrust to IFSC players. Additionally, major tax benefits like exemption from dividend distribution tax (DDT) from current and accumulated income to companies and mutual funds, exemptions on capital gain to Category-III AIF, and interest payment on loan taken from non-residents were categorically announced to uplift growth traction at IFSC.

Additional business opportunities for the IFSC were outlined in the budget like aviation financing and leasing, and insurance securities markets. This will step up significant offshore financing activities to take place from Indian IFSC and create multiple job opportunities in financial services industry. Currently, trade volume growth at GIFT IFSC has spiked up with the daily trade touching over USD 3 billion. Further, to facilitate on-shoring of international insurance transactions and to enable opening of branches by foreign reinsurers in the IFSC, it is proposed to reduce net-owned fund requirement from Rs 5,000 crore to Rs 1,000 crore. This will also incentivise Indian companies’ business going abroad to come onshore.

Finance Minister has also proposed speeding the enactment of legislation to create an IFSC authority, which shall outline a regulator structure for such financial hubs in her maiden budget 2019. This will set a level playing field for the IFSC players, enabling it to successfully compete in global market with international players. All these measures will certainly enhance the confidence index of IFSC players as it re-emphasizes the importance of GIFT IFSC as an emerging global financial services hub. This will help the country to regain billion dollar business currently losing to other competing global IFSC. Thus, this is an initiative making India a global economic hub.

GIFT IFSC has lot more potential gradually getting translated into reality. In recent moves, the plans to enhance connectivity were announced by approving Ahmedabad metro line passing via GIFT city in Gandhinagar. This will augment the employment operation and enhance workforce base out of GIFT IFSC making it global economic hub.