Narendra Modi government's ambitious plan to create a global financial hub near state capital, Gandhinagar, will get a step closer to reality.
The construction of first two towers (each having 30 stories) at Gujarat International Financial Tech-City (GIFT City) is likely to complete by August-end and the government is planning to throw the towers open for occupants by September 2012.
The opening of much-hyped GIFT city project bears importance especially when the state assembly elections are just round the corner.
"We want to finish the construction work of two towers at the earliest, mostly before September. Once the possession is given, then it is up to occupants to take their own time to move in," said Ramakant Jha, director, Gujarat International Finance Tec-City Company Ltd, a joint venture between Government of Gujarat and Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS).
"The construction is in full swing at the site and developers are constructing one floor every week. Already 25 floors have been completed and we are hopeful to open it soon after construction work," said Jha, who has also served as head of transportation and communication at CIDCO - New Town Development Authority of Navi Mumbai.
The two towers are located in the non-SEZ area or domestic service area of GIFT City. However, the government envisages to set up an International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) within the GIFT SEZ.
The SEZ Board of Approval (BoA) had approved the proposal of GIFT SEZ Ltd - in November 2011, for setting up of an IFSC in the notified SEZ near Gandhinagar.
However, the approval is subject to necessary approvals from different regulators in the field of financial services including Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) and other similar regulatory authorities through the Ministry of Finance.
"It is not clear who will regulate the units coming up within the IFSC. India does not have any regulation relating to this. However, a draft of regulations is lying with the government. It is pending to be put up before the union cabinet for final approval. This is causing a loss to the country's exchequer due to a delay in the formation of regulations for units coming up in IFSC in a multi-services SEZ," said Jha.
Central Government would consult the sectoral regulators and notify, the requirements and guidelines for setting up of IFSC in the SEZ area and also the requirements for setting up and operation of units in an IFSC in an SEZ.
Meanwhile, IL&FS is confident to get enough buyers for its two towers.
"Talks are on with some of the Banks and IT companies. About 12 players are likely to finalise to set up office at these towers. They have already visited the site and now will decide on commercial aspect," said an IL&FS official.
IL&FS has invested about Rs 700 crore towards construction and development of the two towers at GIFT. The company plans to invest about Rs 300-400 crore in the current financial year and construct a third tower with about 500,000 square feet of area.
"Our strategy is to built new cities across the country. We target to develop 5 million sqft of area nationally over the next 2-3 years," said the company official.