On Friday, the 10th April, 2015, along with Chief Minister of Gujarat, I inaugurated “Gujarat International Finance Tec-City” popularly known as the Gift City. The Gift City is intended to be a global financial hub. It will have an international financial service centre which is a financial sector SEZ.
The Gift City, a joint venture company, has been promoted on a 50:50 basis by the Gujarat Urban Development Company Ltd. and the Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Limited (IL&FS). It is at a twenty minutes drive from the Ahmedabad airport and five minutes drive from Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat. It is currently spread over 800 acres of land which has been contributed by the Gujarat Government for a nominal amount of Rs.1/-. The joint venture company has developed world class infrastructure. The municipal facilities by a statutory notification will be looked after by the company. All infrastructural facilities are located underground. There is an underground tunnel in which electric wires, pipelines, garbage collection and all other maintenance facilities are located. The tap water in the city itself is purified to become drinking water. The air conditioning is maintained through water chillers. The infrastructural tunnel is big enough for a vehicle to drive through it. The joint venture company has already put up two towers. The first phase of the city is to be completed in 2016. The entire city would be completed in three phases concluding with 2026.
All financial sector activities, which include banking, insurance, capital market operations, intermediaries from all over the world, are going to be located in the city. Both Central and the State Government have announced several tax cuts for the international financial sector. RBI, SEBI and the IRDA have already announced their regulatory mechanism for the financial sector operations. The operations will include all financial sector companies which include all international techno park, international market zone, commodities exchanges, global trading exchanges, insurance, shares, banking IT, KPO and BPO services and data centre etc.
The related services will include commercial and office buildings, serviced apartments, hotels, restaurants, food courts shopping arcades medical centres, schools, colleges, exhibition centres and affordable housing. It will generate thousands of jobs with all working people with families staying in the complex itself. It will be a self-contained city.
I was informed in the course of my briefing prior to the inauguration that land has been leased out to each financial institution and other developers for just a token amount. The joint venture company would be paid Rs.1250/- psf for commercial development and Rs.250/- psf for each social sector development. This will account for the initial investment made by the joint venture company, the cost of land and result in a net savings to the joint venture company. Effectively this will be a smart city with global infrastructure, a financial centre, with people living in there. This is achieved with no cost to the public exchequer. This was perceived when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. The entire initiative comprises of creating a social sector SEZ in a smart city. For creation of smart cities in other parts of the country, this experiment deserves to be emulated by others. Different State Governments would be well advised to send their teams to study this success story.