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What is GIFT City – India’s First Greenfield Smart City

GIFT City’s full form is Gujarat International Finance Tec-City. Gift City is located in Gandhinagar district on the banks of the Sabarmati River in Gujarat, India. It is India’s first operational greenfield smart city and India’s first International Financial Services Centre. It was an ambitious project launched by the Government of Gujarat with the aim of creating a world-class financial hub and IT hub. It is located in Gandhinagar, the capital city of Gujarat. The city had established a dedicated multi-service SEZ Special Economic Zone and was offering various incentives and facilities to encourage businesses to set up operations there. The planning and development of Gift City began in early 2007. Since then, the project has been developed in phases, with various buildings and infrastructure components being constructed to accommodate the growing demand and attract investment. Several major companies, including financial institutions and IT firms, had already established their presence in GIFT City.

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The GIFT City is intended to be a global hub for financial and business services, attracting businesses and investors from around the world. GIFT City is Technology based SEZ.

The city has its own financial regulator with a brief to slash red tape for overseas companies.

How the Gift City is taking shape in Gujarat

GIFT City is around 12 km from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport. The city is designed so residents can walk to work, and includes commercial, financial, and residential complexes. The city is connected through 4-6 lane State and National Highways. A metro station is also planned for construction, which would connect GIFT City to the Ahmedabad Metro network.

The total area for the development of GIFT is 886 acres out of which the SEZ (Special Economic Zone) constitutes 261 acres. The project area under development can hence be classified under the SEZ area and the Non-SEZ area (also known as the Domestic Tariff area or the DTA)

The Gujarat International Finance Tec-City is an ambitious project in Gujarat, India, aimed at creating a world-class financial and technological hub. It was developed as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) with the goal of attracting global businesses, fostering innovation, and boosting economic growth in the state. The implementation of GIFT City involved several key steps and ongoing efforts:

Read – How to Start Business in GIFT City, Gujarat

  • Planning and Development: The project was initiated by the Government of Gujarat, in collaboration with private sector entities and international consultants. The planning phase involved the identification of suitable land, feasibility studies, and the formulation of a comprehensive master plan.
  • Infrastructure Development: One of the critical aspects of GIFT City’s implementation was the development of state-of-the-art infrastructure. This included the construction of modern office spaces, commercial buildings, residential areas, educational institutions, healthcare facilities, and transportation networks.
  • Legal and Regulatory Framework: To attract global businesses, GIFT City required a robust legal and regulatory framework. The Gujarat government enacted specific laws and regulations, including the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City Act, to provide a business-friendly environment, simplified taxation, and streamlined processes for setting up and operating businesses within the city.
  • Financial Services and Institutions: GIFT City aimed to become a prominent financial hub, offering a wide range of financial services. Efforts were made to attract leading financial institutions, such as banks, insurance companies, asset management firms, and stock exchanges, to establish their presence in the city.
  • Technological Infrastructure: GIFT City also focused on developing the advanced technological infrastructure to support innovation and digitalization. This involved the establishment of data centers, high-speed internet connectivity, and the adoption of smart city technologies.
  • International Financial Services Centre (IFSC): One of the key components of GIFT City is its International Financial Services Centre (IFSC). The IFSC provides a platform for global financial transactions, including offshore banking, international trading, and other financial services. It operates under a separate regulatory framework and offers various incentives to attract businesses.
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Key Dates for the Development of GIFT City, Gujarat

  • 2007 – The project announced
  • 2008 – Land Acquisition Started and the Project of GIFT City got approval.
  • 2009 – GIFT SEZ area is notified.
  • 2010 – Construction Started for the 1st phase. and IL&FS Built the first building in GIFT City called the GIFT One.
  • 2012 – GIFT City was inaugurated and the Bank of Baroda started operations there.
  • 2013 – 2nd Phase of construction started. GIFT SEZ was notified to allow companies to avail themselves of many tax benefits.
  • 2014 – GIFT City is taken under the smart city mission.
  • 2015 – 2nd phase of GIFT City is completed.
  • 2016 – First international exchange, India International Exchange started operations in GIFT City.
  • 2017 – 3rd Phase construction started.
  • 2019 – Phase 3 construction completed.
  • 2021 – Phase 4 construction started.

Read – How to Start an Industry/Factory in Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Stakeholders of GIFT City, Gujarat

There are mainly 3 stakeholders of GIFT City, Gujarat and it is a fully owned project of the Gujarat government. The government of Gujarat through its undertakings Gujarat Urban Development Company Limited (GUDCL), Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB), and Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) is implementing “Gujarat International Finance Tec-City Company Limited” (GIFTCL). For the purpose of implementation of the SEZ, GIFT Company Limited has set up an SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) (100% subsidiary of GIFTCL) namely GIFT SEZ Ltd, designated as the developer organization of the SEZ. GIFTCL has also set up 5 subsidiary companies for the implementation of specialized infrastructure including Power, Water, ICT (Information & Communication Technology), District Cooling, and solid waste management.

  • Gift Power Company Limited
  • Gift Waste Management Services Limited
  • Gift Water Infrastructure Limited
  • Gift ICT Services Limited
  • Gift Collective Investment Management Company Limited
  • Gift SEZ Limited
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Objectives of Gift City, Gujarat

GIFT City, project was initiated by the Government of Gujarat with the objective of creating a global financial and information technology hub that would attract domestic and international businesses, stimulate economic growth, and provide world-class infrastructure. Here are some of the main objectives of GIFT City:

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  • International Financial Services Center (IFSC): GIFT City aims to establish a world-class IFSC to provide a conducive environment for financial services such as banking, insurance, capital markets, and asset management. The objective is to attract global financial institutions and promote India as a major financial hub.
  • Economic Growth and Employment Generation: GIFT City intends to drive economic growth in the region by attracting both domestic and international businesses. The development of industries and services within the city is expected to create employment opportunities and contribute to Gujarat’s overall economic development.
  • Infrastructure Development: GIFT City seeks to provide state-of-the-art infrastructure, including modern office spaces, residential complexes, educational institutions, healthcare facilities, entertainment zones, and transportation systems. The objective is to create a self-contained ecosystem that supports businesses, residents, and visitors.
  • Innovation and Technology: GIFT City aims to foster innovation and promote the development of cutting-edge technologies. It aims to attract technology companies and startups by providing a supportive ecosystem, including incubation centers, research facilities, and access to a skilled workforce
  • Sustainable Development: GIFT City emphasizes sustainable development practices, including energy-efficient buildings, waste management systems, green spaces, and water conservation measures. The objective is to create an environmentally conscious and livable city that prioritizes sustainability.
  • International Collaboration: GIFT City aims to establish strategic collaborations and partnerships with international financial centers, technology hubs, and global organizations. The objective is to foster knowledge exchange, attract foreign investment, and enhance India’s global standing in the financial and technology sectors.
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Success and Impact of Gift City, Gujarat

The project was envisioned to attract domestic and international financial institutions, and multinational companies, and provide state-of-the-art infrastructure for finance and technology-related services. The implementation of Gift City has the potential to bring significant economic and infrastructural developments to Gujarat. Some of the expected impacts and developments include:

  • Employment Opportunities: The establishment of Gift City is expected to generate a large number of employment opportunities in various sectors. It aims to create a robust financial services sector, including banking, insurance, asset management, and capital markets, which would create jobs for skilled professionals.
  • Financial and Technological Infrastructure: Gift City aims to provide world-class infrastructure for financial services and technology companies. This includes state-of-the-art office spaces, data centers, connectivity, and technology infrastructure to attract businesses from around the world. The availability of modern infrastructure could boost the growth of the finance and technology sectors in Gujarat.
  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): By offering a globally competitive business environment, Gift City aims to attract significant foreign direct investment into Gujarat. The project’s success in attracting FDI could result in increased economic activities, job creation, and the overall development of the region.
  • Diversification of the Economy: The development of Gift City could help Gujarat diversify its economy beyond traditional industries such as agriculture and manufacturing. By focusing on finance, technology, and related sectors, the state can foster innovation and promote a knowledge-based economy.
  • Skill Development and Knowledge Transfer: The establishment of Gift City could lead to the development of specialized education and training programs to meet the demand for skilled professionals in the finance and technology sectors. This could result in the transfer of knowledge and expertise, benefitting the local workforce.
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