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Fintech Hub @ Gift City – Getting India ready for the Big Leap?

Financial technology (Fintech) has been disrupting the Indian financial services market in a big way for a few years now, with India attracting $2.7 billion in fintech investment in full-year 2020, despite Covid-19. This is India’s second-highest yearly fintech startup investment received in any given year to date.

Fintech investments are further expected to rise in 2021, with a key interest in payment fintech startups with digital payments in India reaching new heights of 4+ billion for the first time in the calendar year 2020.

Indian Government’s Fintech Hub – Key announcement – Budget 2021

The Budget 2021 came in with a special incentive program for the Indian Fintech Industry, with the finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman announcing the setting up of a big fintech hub at GIFT City in a bid to boost innovation in the fintech industry in India.

The government has parked special funds in the budget – up to 1,500 crores to boost digital payments and promote the fintech hub in India.

Spanning across 886 acres of land with 62 mn sq. ft. of built-up area, the Gift City is equipped with the latest technology and advanced infrastructure service delivery that offers international working and living standards. Alongside it also includes India’s first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC).

India aims to build this fintech hub in parlance with global financial hubs like Dubai and Singapore to attract foreign investors who are willing to trade in foreign currencies.

Demystifying the key benefits of India’s Fintech hub announcement:

Fintech hub at Gift City in India brings along an array of opportunities and benefits in laying the ground right for speedy growth of the fintech market in India. Some encouraging scenarios that emerge:

  • At least 2-3X rise in the number of fintech startups in India in H1 2021 itself, driven by the creation of a focused hub in the country where fintech players across domains can collaborate with ease.
  • Rise in overall investor interest – of all types – VCs, PEs, Angel investors – due to the double-edged government support in the form of a new fintech hub coupled with the existing tax incentives for units located in International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in the Gift city.
  • Foreign investment in fintech funding specifically to see a jump in 2021 due to the emergence of a focused hub where FDIs can be made to avail benefits of existing tax rules like non-applicability of minimum alternate tax (MAT) on dividend income received by any foreign company on its investment in India.
  • India emerges as a leader, up from the current third place on the global fintech map, surpassing China, with the help of structured, regulatory, and government support for the growth of fintech startups in India.

Thus, the government’s plan to support a fintech hub at Gift City makes a strong proposition as a step to build the next-gen fintech landscape in India.

The Road Ahead:

Fintech hub is indeed a revolutionary move by the GoI and will act as a huge push lever for the growth of the fintech industry in India. This can be one real game-changer in India’s fintech evolution that will act as an impetus for the industry, attracting structured investments not only from within India but also from across the world.

A focused Fintech hub in India in addition to the existing infrastructure at GIFT IFSC, extended tax benefits for Indian startups till March 2022, as well as tax benefits to foreign investors in India, will act as key market enablers for accelerating the growth of the fintech industry in India through the next few years.

As a result, many analyst firms have forecasted the fintech market in India – valued at Rs 1,920 billion in the year 2019 – to reach Rs 6,207 billion by the year 2025, recording a CAGR of ~22.7% during the next 5-year period. Thus, truly setting the path in place to make India take the big leap in the Fintech!

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