News-CRUX-10     29th August 2023        

Context: The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) has proposed key exemptions to the current listing framework and measures for setting up holding companies (holdcos) and special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) to encourage domestic startups list at GIFT City, the country’s only international financial services centre (IFSC). 

  • Under the current framework, to be eligible to list on IFSC exchanges, an issuing company should have operating revenue of at least $20 million in the preceding financial year and average pre-tax profits of at least $1 million during the preceding three financial years. 
  • An expert committee has noted these conditions have acted as hurdles to listing new-age companies, and they need a relook.

International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) 

  • About: A financial centre that caters to customers outside the jurisdiction of the domestic economy. 
  • It is also known as an offshore financial centre since it deals with flow of finance, financial products and services across borders.
      • Objectives: IFSCs are intended to provide Indian corporates with easier access to global financial markets, and to complement and promote further development of financial markets in India.
      • Nodal Agency: The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) was established by the Government of India to develop and regulate international financial services centres in the country.
        • The first IFSC in India has been set up at the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City) in Gandhinagar.
      • IFSCA: It is a statutory authority established in April 2020 under the International Financial Services Centres Authority Act, 2019.
        • Before the IFSCA was established, the financial services and institutions were regulated by the domestic financial regulators such as SEBI, RBI, IRDAI, PFRDA, etc.
        • The Special Economic Zone Act, 2005 provides for the establishment of an IFSC in India.
        • As per the SEZ Act, the government approved GIFT City as a Multi Services Special Economic Zone (“GIFT SEZ”) in Gandhinagar.
    • IFSCA Functions:
      • Regulate financial products such as securities, deposits or contracts of insurance, financial services, and financial institutions which have been previously approved by any appropriate regulator such as Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) etc., in an IFSC.
      • Regulate any other financial products, financial services, or financial institutions in an IFSC, which may be notified by the central government.
      • Recommend to the central government any other financial products, financial services, or financial institutions, which may be permitted in an IFSC.
    • IFSCA Members: The IFSCA consists of nine members appointed by GOI. 
      • The members are: Chairperson, 1 member from RBI, 1 member from SEBI, 1 member from PFRDA, 1 member from IRDAI, 2 members from the Finance Ministry and 2 members appointed on recommendation of a Selection Committee.
      • Term: The term of each member is three years subject to reappointment.
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