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An Indian model of Financial City

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Gujrat International Finance & Tech City (GIFT) is the upcoming Global financial and IT services hub, a first of its kind in India. The development is expected to become a contemporary model that advances the ideas of sustainability and ecology. Ramakant Jha, Managing Director, GIFT city who is credited with planning & development of city of Navi Mumbai, Mumbai – Pune Expressway, Mumbai Trans – Harbour Link briefs Buildotech on this hi-tech city.

GIFT reflects an integrated planning approach that assimilates the intended program into the existing context of both the site and the region. The project located in Gandhinagar is designed to be at par with globally benchmarked financial centers such as Shinjuku-Tokyo, Lujiazui-Shanghai, La Defense-Paris and London. Designed by consortium of leading International firms, it is an ideal blend of high quality commercial, residential and social facilities that optimize land values, global connectivity and gen-next infrastructure.

Spread across 886 acres of land, GIFT utilizes 673 acres with a total built up area of 62 million sqft. It consists of multi Services SEZ (International Financial Service Centre – IFSC) on 250 acres and Domestic Finance Centre and associated social infrastructure on 423 acres. The SEZ is divided into two parts – 125 acres for Processing and 125 acres for Non-Processing Area. It is supported by state-of-the-art internal infrastructure encompassing all basic urban infrastructure elements such as external connectivity by roads and public transport.

The city is planned to be implemented over a period of 10 to 12 years in three phases, overlapping each other. First phase will see development of 10million sqft built-up area with 22million sqft in second phase and 30million in the third and final.Types of Industries accommodated in the city

Like all leading financial centers GIFT will target 8-10% share of the financial services potential in India. Once complete, it will enable the relocation and centralization of India’s financial and IT sectors and in providing the turn-key location for global financial & IT firms. The various proposed financial services are:

• National Financial services operations’ hub

• Regional/functional headquarters for financial services players

• National headquarters for players

• Private Banking hub for NRIs/ Regional HNWs

• International microfinance hub

• International commodity trade hub

• Participation in global capital markets

• Global Hub for IT services for financial services sector

The Building Systems & Services

The buildings in GIFT will be equipped with Intelligent Building Management System (IBMS), connected to a central command & control center (C4) to provide interface between user and utility service providers. Some other facilities included are integrated Surveillance System for Safety & Security, disaster/crisis management and professional facility management.

The utility infrastructure plants for various services such as water, sewerage, solid waste collection and treatment, district cooling system, power are located so as to meet the requirements of the zones optimally. These infrastructure facilities are planned to be modular in nature. The distribution of the services would be through the utility service corridors, integrated with the overall GIFT infrastructure.

The services that are proposed to be provided are comprehensive with higher service levels and planned delivery. A judicious combination with the latest technology and global best practices in infrastructure service delivery are planned.

Infrastructure Provided

District Cooling System: Introduced first time in India for any commercial use, it will supply chilled water till building level that will help reduce energy cost, maintenance cost, noise & vibrations and improve air quality.

Automated Waste Collection System: The system is a unique infrastructure that will maximize resource recovery and minimal emissions. It also minimizes impact on environment, human intervention, space requirement and impact on health hazard and with no waste visibility.

Utility Tunnel: All utility services except gas and sewerage from plants to various buildings will be routed through utility tunnel to be developed throughout the city including DTA & SEZ areas.

Power & Water: The Project ensures 99.999% power reliability, which means outage of 5.3 minutes per annum and will be a zero discharge city. The water infrastructure including storage of surface run-off & rain water will consist of Water Treatment Plants (WTP) and Sewerage Treatment Plants (STP).

Samruddhi sarovar, an artificial water body of 1.2km will work as a 15 days water storage for the city and will also be used for the recreational and entertainment purposes.

Multi-Level Car Parking: There are nine MLP’s planned each having 10000 car parks capacity for systematic and efficient parking in the city.

Sustainability & Energy-efficiency initiatives

All commercial, residential or social developments will have energy-efficiency features with the intention of making entire GIFT an intelligent and green city. The planning and design of the city is in accordance with the micro climatology and non-conventional energy resources such as solar water heating, rain water harvesting are to be implemented. Basic design parameters include:

• Structure design efficiency

• Materials efficiency

• Indoor environmental quality enhancement

• Operations and maintenance optimization

• Waste reduction

Challenges in project execution

Infrastructure Projects require longer time to break-even. During the initial years investment in Infrastructure may not get the desired results in terms of bringing the occupants to the center, thereby requiring higher initial capital. Such project also requires proactive Government support in order to align various agencies to work in co-ordination with each other.

Since GIFT is a green-field project, achieving threshold critical mass which will self-propel the centre is also going to be the challenge. Operational Guidelines for IFSC are being developed by the regulators. Until the guidelines are approved and published, operating guidelines from an IFSC is unclear.

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