More than a dozen banks and insurers will soon set up branches in the country’s only international financial services centre (IFSC) — Gujarat International Finance Tec (GIFT) City.

While three private sector lenders — ICICI Bank, YES Bank and Federal Bank — have already set up branches there, three more (State Bank of India, IDBI Bank and IndusInd Bank) have received regulatory clearance and will start operations soon, said Ajay Pandey, Managing Director and Group Chief Operating Officer, GIFT City.

The centre is located between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar.

Waiting to move

“Fifteen more banks plan to start operations at GIFT. New India Assurance and General Insurance Corporation are also in advanced stages of completing applications to regulators,” Pandey told BusinessLine .

Welcoming the tax breaks for IFSCs in Budget 2016, he said these will give a boost to capital market players as well as foreign banks and insurers to begin operations at GIFT.

“The capital market players were waiting for the Budget announcements.

“We already have a number of MoUs in place and these should get operationalised soon,” he said.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced a number of tax breaks in the Budget for companies in IFSCs.

These include MAT (minimum alternate tax) at 9 per cent, waiving of dividend distribution tax, and exemption from securities transaction tax, commodities transaction tax and long-term capital gains on specified transactions.

Pandey said a number of foreign banks as well as re-insurers, including Lloyds, Munich Re and Swiss Re, have also evinced interest.

Companies Act

Apart from the tax breaks, GIFT City is also in talks with the Centre on whether some provisions of the Companies Act apply to units located within it.

“Since an IFSC is deemed to be a foreign territory, some of provisions of the Companies Act are applicable to units in GIFT City. This will help in ease of doing business,” Pandey said, adding that it is also looking to set up an international arbitration or dispute resolution centre.