Prohibition in Gujarat came into focus during the debate on IFSC Bill in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, with Congress member Karti Chidambaram saying no global professional would like to work in a dry state.
Reacting to the statement, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the Congress government had considered this while giving permission to Gujarat to set up the financial sector SEZ in 2011.
BJP member P P Chaudhary said the contention of the Congress that the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) will not be successful because liquor is banned in Gujarat is shameful and against the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi.
Chidambaram, during the debate on the International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill, 2019, said "global talent is definitely not attracted by a nation which exercises curbs on individual freedom, lashes out on dissent and where there is rampant moral policing. GIFT City is highly impractical. It ignores such issues as location and skill availability."
Realistically speaking, no young finance professional in the world wants to go and work in a dry state, he said.
"Let's be very clear. Anybody who works in New York, London and Singapore wants to have their life. Nobody wants to work in dry states," he said.
Refuting these claims, the finance minister said the permission for setting up the SEZ was not given by NDA but in 2011 by the then UPA government.
"Congress had the opportunity to abolish prohibition, promote industry but these are now coming as an afterthought...," she added.
The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the bill to set up a unified authority for regulating all financial activities in IFSCs in the country.
The first IFSC in India was set up at Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.