What's Next for Mumbai?
The who’s who of business, industry and entertainment voiced their concerns for their work in Mumbai, at a conclave with the Chief Minister and other government officials, yesterday.
(From left) Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Ekta Kapoor, Poonam Mahajan, Amitabh Bachchan and Ronnie Screwvala at MumbaiNext: MMR Transformation at Taj Lands End. Pics/ Nimesh Dave
The Maharashtra government, in partnership with Mumbai First, and supported by Ministry of Finance, held the day long conclave, ‘Mumbai Next: MMR Transformation’, at Taj Lands End.
Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani with brother and Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, Tata Group Chairman Cyrus Mistry and State Bank of India Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya
The panelists included Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, Minister of Industries Subhash Desai, Poonam Mahajan MP Mumbai North Central, among others.
The power-packed audience had Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani and Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani, Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry, among other industrialists and dignitaries.
Arun Jaitley, union finance minister, addressed the conference through video chat. While Jaitley complimented Fadnavis for his honesty, he requested him to also take fast decisions. Mukesh Ambani took the opportunity to ask Jaitley about infrastructure issues and about several projects stuck for many years in Mumbai.
He said that he would like to know how the government plans to improve the financing and execution of projects planned and announced. Anil Ambani chose to pose a question to the CM about his concern on delay in decisions taken by the bureaucracy, that results in many hurdles.
Ronnie Screwvala, founder and former CEO of UTV group, anchored the segment about the entertainment industry in the city.
Talking about the state government’s long-term and short-term plans for the entertainment industry, Valsa Nair Singh, secretary tourism and culture, Government of Maharashtra said that Singapore and Dubai are far ahead of Mumbai because they have reinvented themselves in terms of tourism and entertainment.
There is much more to do in terms of entertainment, apart from Bollywood, she said. “We need to bring down the number of permissions. To set up a hotel, one needs 146 permissions as of now and we need to bring that down to at least 20 and need to introduce a single-window system for this,” she said.
When asked if we need to reconsider the process of shutting down entertainment at 10.30 pm, she said there could be certain pockets in the city that could have a later deadline and where nightlife could be longer than in other parts. She said we are also losing out on open air concerts because of the high entertainment tax.
Saying he is a proud Mumbaikar, Amitabh Bachchan said we lack museums that could put together what Mumbai has contributed to films. He also emphasised the fact that the city doesn’t have enough theatres to promote plays. Comparing our cultural scene to that in London and USA, he said that Mumbai can do as well as those cities do.
The long-pending proposal to develop Mumbai into an International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) got a boost with the government saying it is keen to transform the city into a global financial hub.
“We are keen to transform Mumbai as a global financial centre... It is a necessity that we have to create Mumbai as a global financial centre,” Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said.
Chief Minister Fadnavis said that the state government is already working in this regard, but much of the work was to be done by the Centre and the pending issues in this regard should be addressed in the upcoming Union Budget.
Fadnavis said the world over such centres have been developed with the help from the respective federal governments and welcomed the support assured by the Centre in this regard.
“I feel the first thing, which was expected from the government towards making BKC a global financial centre...we have already started working on it and our role as the local government is to create the ecosystem,” Fadnavis said.
- With inputs from Agencies