Mumbai needs autonomy: Chidambaram

Special Correspondent

To become an effective global financial centre

Better infrastructure like housing neededCosmopolitan culture another pre-requisite

MUMBAI: Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said here on Monday that Mumbai needs autonomy to govern itself to become an International Financial Centre (IFC), in order to provide effective services.

"Good houses, good schools, good roads, good water" are essential for Mumbai to become an effective financial centre of the world, said Mr. Chidambaram while addressing a National Conference on `Mumbai as an International Financial Centre'.

He said the city had a long way to go before it could reach the status of a global city, and greater autonomy and better governance of the city would ensure the global city status.

The theme of the conference, organised by the Ministry of Finance and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), is based on a recently submitted report by a High Power Expert Committee (HPEC) on `Mumbai as International Financial Capital'. Mumbai needs to be seen across India and around the world as a welcoming cosmopolitan and cultured metropolis capable of accommodating a large number of expatriates.

"It is only with such an ethos that Mumbai can become an IFC," the report stated. The city needs an administrative apparatus for governance that has its own revenue base and financial independence to match."Mumbai has been a `milch cow' for both the Centre and the State for some time. It has got very little back for its own urban development. That asymmetry needs to be reversed," the Committee observed.

Most of the participants in the conference conceded to this view and asked for self-governance for Mumbai and better infrastructure like housing.

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