Mumbai, Apr 26: The verdict is out. If Mumbai wants to transform itself into an international financial hub (IFH) it desperately needs to shed the Aamchi Mumbai tag.
The new buzzword, according to the Union finance ministry’s high-powered expert committee, is being cosmopolitan. To achieve this goal, the state needs to do away with its anti-migrant policies and be accommodating towards people from other parts of the country and abroad.
The suggestions, if followed, would help the city compete with the three established global financial hub—London, Tokyo and Hong Kong, said the panel report, which has been submitted to the government. For the state, the report comes as a shocker as it has been arguing with the Centre to allow policies that would restrain the flow of migrants.
According to the report, “Mumbai needs to be seen as a cosmopolitan metropolis that welcomes migrants. That will mean providing user-friendly visa/resident permit mechanisms. It is only with such an ethos that the city can become an IFC.”
Maintaining that unrestrained migrant population has overburdened the city’s infrastructure, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said, “Our government is committed to turning Mumbai into an IFH.”
With 450 families pouring into the city every day, anti-migrant feelings had featured in all political parties' agenda during every election. Although the Shiv Sena is identified with the "son of the soil" slogan, often the Congress and the NCP have exploited the issue to consolidate its regional vote bank.
A senior officer in the urban development department said, "The government finds itself in catch 22 situation. On the one hand, the Centre is upset because of the slow pace of development work and on the other, it is warning us against anti-migrant policies. Our internal study shows unless we check migration, Mumbai will decay even further."
However, the panel arguesd, "Mumbai will eventually need to attract a large population of individuals who are an integral part of the globally mobile workforce."