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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Mumbai - The New York City of the Future?

There is some press about it but mostly business editorials (except for IE). Most would have missed it if you didn't care who Percy or Mistry is.

Percy Mistry is the guide who made the seminal book, probably, on the future of Mumbai possible - Mumbai as a future international financial center on par with the current New York City or London and beyound the merry Tokyo or Frankfurt. Interestingly the book of dreams, generated by Ministry of Finance - GOI, is for sale for Rs. 795.

Gautam Chikermane in IE writes on how it came about along with the obstacles to make it happen-

Fifteen top names in the financial sector switched off their cellphones and had hectic discussions spread over seven meetings that began at 9 am and ended at 6 pm, reaching 100 per cent unanimity in all recommendations. They represent the minds behind the ‘report of the high powered expert committee on making Mumbai an international financial centre’. If the title is a mouthful, the contents of the Percy Mistry committee report are somewhat formidable. For these 15 minds are really dreaming big. [Whodunnit Mistry - IE]

Summary of report gives seven areas that need to be addressed

(1) An extensive network of domestic and international financial firms with an
extensive range of domestic and international clients;
(2) High level human capital;
(3) World class telecommunications;
(4) State of the art IT systems;
(5) A sophisticated open financial system with a full range of financial products
and world class levels of liquidity and market efficiency;
(6) A system of financial regime governance which matches global best
practices; and
(7) A large and rapidly growing economy that is globalising rapidly and thus
requires IFS.

And there is a time line to take on the second tier financial centers and on moving to the first tier.

Ajay Shah's blog has all the links related to the report, editorials, and op-eds.

The nearest competition to this dream is obviously Shanghai. It already has a leg up in some aspects - mainly physical infrastructure - while Mumbai has the institutions, at least some of them. Unless the central, and mainly, the state and city governments come together to make it happen, MIFC will probably remain a dream into the foreseeable future.

Update: Here is a fairly elaborate Percy Mistry's interview in Business Standard. His optimism is such an asset. If we just had 10 political leaders, those in power, preferably chief ministers of important states, with such optimism to make things happen, it'll change the face of the country.