Indian Finance Minister announces ‘game changing’ reforms

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In his latest budget Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stated his intention to develop a sector-neutral regulator, the Financial Redressal Agency (FRA), to address consumer grievances across financial service sectors.

The FRA will be backed by a new regulatory structure Jaitley calls the Indian Financial Code, which will replace 61 existing laws in an effort to create a more cohesive and accountable financial architecture. The code will cover consumer protection, micro-prudential regulation, resolution, capital controls, systemic risk, development and redistribution, monetary policy, public debt management and trading and market abuse.

Jaitley said: “A properly functioning capital market also requires proper consumer protection. The FRA will set up a nationwide machinery to become a one-stop shop where consumers can carry complaints against all financial firms.”

The Finance Minister also announced that the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) – a purpose-built ‘smart city’ envisaged as a financial centre to rival Singapore and Dubai and plans for which have been stalling for years – will become a reality.

GIFT is envisaged as a globally-benchmarked international financial centre whose core operations will include offshore banking, insurance, assurance and reinsurance, regional financial exchanges and back offices. To attract and retain top global talent it will also incorporate schools, clubs and hospitals.

Jaitley explained: “While India produces some of the finest financial minds, including in international finance, they have few avenues in India to fully exhibit and exploit their strength to the country’s advantage. GIFT was envisaged as an International Finance Centre that would actually become as good as Singapore or Dubai. I am glad to announce that the first phase will soon become a reality.”

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