GIFT City raises the infrastructure bar for Smart City initiative in India



The Gujarat International Finance Tec-City, or the GIFT City as it is popularly called is progressively moving towards becoming the smartest city in the country, setting an example for others to follow. The city has development rights for over 15 m sq. ft. of built-up area, that includes an operational area measuring 2-sq. ft., and another 3-sq. ft. under development. GIFT will have India’s first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC). With its impeccable infrastructure, boasting of high-rise towers, the city — an under construction central business district between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar has earned the moniker of Model City for representing the Smart City Mission statement and guidelines.

Of late, the smart city kicked off few of its mega projects that grabbed headlines. BSE’s International Exchange is one of the prominent projects that put India on the global map for capital markets. The exchange has the fastest transaction rate in the world, standing at 4 micro seconds. It enables trading in stock futures Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and JP Morgan. The exchange’s daily turnover has increased from $500,000 to $2 million in just over two months.


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Ajay Pandey, CEO, GIFT City project, tasked with the INR 78,000-crore project since 2015, has seen the impressive construction of high-rise Hiranandani Tower housing the BSE International Exchange, the futuristic tier-IV data centre, and the Jamnabai Narsee School. Pandey shares, “GIFT was largely an under-construction project when I took over the reins. The 30-storied GIFT One and Two towers were the two main structures to have come up.”

The World Trade Centre, a business club, the SBI’s local headquarters, residential complex, a five-star hotel, the Brigade office building and residential projects, including a Janaadhar housing scheme, are some of the other works in development pipeline. Pandey explains, “The chief difference between GIFT then and now is the fact that earlier it was an infrastructure-led project, while now it’s business-led.” The City will see a sum of six high-rises come up within the next two years, as it will continue focusing on augmentation of existing capacity.

Pandey remarks, “5,000 people are employed here as of now, and we hope the figure will cross 10,000 mark by 2018. The quality of life is remarkable here. People with offices at GIFT have spoken about virtually facing no attrition so far.” At present, the city has over 100 operational companies, however, most of them are awaiting completion of their own premises. These companies meanwhile continue to operate using the plug and play incubation facilities, provided by the administration.

The first phase of development is over. It includes 45 lane km of roads, a 50 TPD water treatment plant, a district cooling centre, a 3-km utility tunnel, a 3 MLD water treatment capacity, and a 66 KVA dual supply power station. Additionally, a city command and control centre has been established to monitor all the operations.

The Indian Budget has seen many transformations in the most recent years, starting from the Budget of 2015 to the Umbrella Regulations announced by the Finance Minister in April the same year. It continued, as Budget concessions were announced in 2016 for facilitating operations of the IFSC. Again, amendment to Budget rules was made in January which allowed foreign law and audit firms to set up offices. Essentially, all these steps were aimed at facilitating the emergence of a truly global IFSC. “India may soon have an IFSC which is world class in every sense, if things proceed as per plan,” concludes Pandey.

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Bhasker Gupta
Bhasker is a techie turned media entrepreneur. Bhasker started AIM in 2012, out of a desire to speak about emerging technologies and their commercial, social and cultural impact. Earlier, Bhasker worked as Vice President at Goldman Sachs. He is a B.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology, Varanasi and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow.

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