One Of Its Kind: All You Need To Know About GIFT City
India's first international financial services centre (IFSC), Gujarat International Finance Tech-City (GIFT City) has been given the third spot in the recently released Global Financial Centres Index 24 (GFCI). The report highlights 15 centres across the world that are likely to gain significance in the next few years. GIFT City is also now a part of the main index of the GFCI, and is ranked 77 in a list of 100 global financial centres.
The GIFT project, being developed under a 50:50 joint venture between the Gujarat Urban Development Company Ltd (GUDCL) and the Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS), is a mixed-use one that will house integrated townships, IFSC and multi-speciality special economic zone (SEZ) and hospitality, among other things.
GIFT City is a planned business district constructed between Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad, two major commercial hubs of Gujarat. It is being developed to cater to the global financial and IT giants looking to set up operations in India. Once fully utilised, the project will have more than 8.5 million square foot (sqf) of constructed space, with brilliant connectivity and world-class infrastructure.
The project boasts distinct demarcated zones for banking and insurance firms, international exchanges, consultancies, technological hotshots and others. The basic notion is to create a financial hub that can host big businesses dispersed in various metro cities of India and abroad.
The plan for GIFT City was developed during the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit held in 2007 by the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. Based on the original plan, GIFT City will sprawl over more than seven kilometres of land and will be completed in four phases.
The centre envisages bringing a mini-boom in the economy by creating more than half a million job opportunities and attracting foreign investments. It could have a similar impact on the growth rates in India as Hong Kong had on the mainland Chinese corporate giants.
To attract greater investments and to facilitate major global players looking to set up operations in India, firms operating from GIFT city will be offered specific tax benefits and the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) exemptions.
In another move that would further boost investment in the GIFT City, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on November 27 released the guidelines for Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs). This makes GIFT City a potential destination for private equity funds and venture capitalists to launch offshore funds for investment in India. These AIFs could enter the City through the Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI), the Foreign Venture Capital Investor (FVCI) and the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) route.
Considering the focus on technology, environment-friendly development practices and the provision for a green belt, GIFT City can be an ideal prototype for upcoming smart cities.
Current status & utilities
The construction of GIFT City is on in full swing, with two commercial towers -- GIFT One and GIFT Two -- fully constructed. The $11-billion central business hub will host an international education zone, SEZ, entertainment zone, etc. There will be integrated townships, shopping malls, hotels, various service units and a stock exchange.
GIFT City will be centrally air-conditioned and have an in-built automatic waste-disposal plant. For easy inter-city and intra-city connectivity, several modes of transportation will also be offered.
The GIFT can be a successful one-of-its-kind model because of the following reasons:
- It is expected to create high-value jobs by bringing global financial services on board
- It will serve as the role model for the 100 smart cities that the government plans to develop across India under its Smart Cities Mission.