Recently, the Government notified regulations, framed by the International Foreign Services Centres Authority (IFSCA), allowing foreign universities to set up off-shore campuses at GIFT City and repatriate profits.

 

About the GIFT City

  • GIFT is planned as a financial Central Business District (CBD) under-construction on the banks of the Sabarmati River between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
  • It is India’s first operational greenfield smart city and international financial services centre.
  • The total area for the development of GIFT is 886 acres out of which the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) constitutes 261 acres.
  • It houses India’s first International Financial Services Center (IFSC).
  • Objectives —
      • To develop a new format for globally benchmarked Integrated City
      • To propose a road map for fast-track development and implementation
      • To make the city scalable in each and every aspect for a distant future
      • To derive the city format from fast changing lifestyles and new technologies
      • To achieve an image of Global city, that keeps pace with modern technologies

 

Significance

  • GIFT shall be a hub for the global financial services sector, with state-of-the-art connectivity, infrastructure and transportation access.
  • Envisioned as an Eco-City, GIFT will showcase business-oriented, environmentally-sensitive growth.
  • It offers a test-bed to drive reforms and innovation in various fields including in delivery systems, local government, physical planning, infrastructure development, environmental protection and so on.
  • This means, the fundamental principles of life and liveability serve as the city’s foundation.

 

About the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA)

  • Headquartered at GIFT City, Gandhinagar in Gujarat, IFSCA is a statutory body established in 2020 under the International Financial Services Centres Authority Act, 2019.
  • It has been established as a unified regulator (as the dynamic nature of business in the IFSCs requires a high degree of inter-regulatory coordination) with a holistic vision to promote ease of doing business in IFSC and provide a world class regulatory environment.
  • The main objective of the IFSCA is to develop a strong global connect and focus on the needs of the Indian economy and the global economy as a whole.
  • Prior to the establishment of IFSCA, the domestic financial regulators, namely, RBI, SEBI, PFRDA and IRDA regulated the business in IFSC.

 

What are the new guidelines?

  • It allows an educational institution from the top 500 QS World Universities to visit GIFT City and commit to establishing suitable infrastructure and facilities to offer courses in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), etc.
  • The regulations aim to address some of the barriers that foreign universities have faced in coming to India, such as fee and administrative control, reservation policy implementation and the requirement that they be a not-for-profit entity.
  • The regulations also permit the parent entity to repatriate any profit without restriction.
  • The foreign entity’s courses or programs must be identical to those offered by the parent entity in its home jurisdiction, and the same degree, diploma or certificate must be conferred.
  • The IFSCA would have the right to inspect foreign campuses set up in GIFT city.
  • If an institution withdraws or discontinues a programme it would have to provide an alternative to the affected students, including reallocation.