Virendra Pandit
Gandhinagar, Dec. 18:
The new Information Technology (IT) Policy, to be introduced in the beginning of 2012 by the Gujarat government, envisages fiscal sops in the form of subsidies or incentives to the IT companies, the Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, has said.
Gujarat's IT sector has achieved the target of an annual turnover of Rs 5,000 crore six months prior to the completion of the existing IT policy period, 2006-11, he said.
According to a Nasscom report, Surat and Ahmedabad are now positioning themselves on the country's IT map, he said in his inaugural address at e-India-2011, the country's largest ICT event, according to an official release here on Saturday.
Mr Ravi Saxena, Additional Chief Secretary, State Department of Science and Technology, said the new IT policy would focus on making human resources available to the IT set-ups, developing infrastructure for the IT industry, easing the process to set up new businesses and lowering land prices. The new policy will be in tandem with the Centre's IT policy.
The IT and ITES industry's exports from Gujarat are likely to rise to Rs 1,200 crore during 2011-12, with a growth of 10 per cent from last year.
Also, after being awarded for the best e-governance, the State government has now introduced the concept of “ governance” (or m-governance) for greater application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in offering citizen-based services.
This is in line with the State government's focus on growth and development of new and emerging technologies and its benefits include improved reach, more transparency and reduced response time and costs.
Gandhinagar hosted the 7th edition of e-India 2011 from December 14 to 16, where over 4,000 representatives from the ICT, government, academia and private sectors, both from India and abroad, shared the knowledge about best practices for development in ICT. The previous six editions of this premier event were held either in New Delhi or Hyderabad.
Source:thehindubusinessline
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  • Narendra Modi's Rs 78,000 cr hi-tech city GIFT to try new concepts; may shape future city technologi

    Keyur Dhandeo, Himanshu Darji & Hari Pulakkat, ET Bureau Jan 5, 2012

    AHMEDABAD: Narendra Modi would not have thought of Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) as the test-bed for future city technologies, but his dream project in Gandhinagar may well have this interesting spillover. Work on the proposed Rs 78,000-crore nano city has now started, and the first occupant may move in by March

    By the time the first phase is completed in three-and-a-half years, this special economic zone (SEZ) would have tried out, on a small scale, some contemporary urban design ideas.
    GIFT would have a command and control centre to monitor the IT infrastructure and respond quickly during emergencies (a fire anywhere, for example, will trigger an automatic response). The city will use the energy-efficient district cooling system instead of air-conditioning. It will also use an automated waste collection system that sucks away garbage from buildings at high speed. Says GIFT Director Ramakant Jha: "We will now try on a pilot scale many technologies that will be used when the city is developed fully."
    District cooling, which uses chilled water to cool buildings, is being tried in a few places such as Toronto, Cornell University and Masdar City in Abu Dhabi. Its proponents say the technology consumes 90% less energy compared with traditional air-conditioning.
    In automated vacuum waste collection systems, garbage is sorted out and then sucked away at high speed through underground tubes to a central location, which can be as far as 20 km away. It is being used in cities such as London, Montreal, Stockholm and Barcelona. No Indian city has these technologies yet.
    These concepts may be widely used in smart cities of future as they are considered sustainable. District cooling, for example, can be used easily with renewable energy. Automated waste collection can be combined with biomass energy generation systems, so GIFT will burn waste to generate energy. Greenfield cities such as GIFT have an opportunity to test new technologies before they are adopted in existing Indian cities.
    TOP-NOTCH GLOBAL FIN CENTRE
    GIFT was conceived in 2007 and the idea was developed initially by a set of consultants such as McKinsey and urban development specialist Fairwood Consultants. It is being planned as a top-notch global financial centre to rival London, New York and Hong Kong.
    On a more immediate time scale, it is being built to attract companies from Mumbai, Gurgaon and even Bangalore. After the initial flurry of announcements, the project entered a stage of lull due to the global economic meltdown in 2008. With the city being granted permission last November to operate as a multi-services SEZ, the Gujarat government is keen to take it forward quickly.
    The stock exchanges of London, Tokyo and Singapore have evinced interest in setting up offices in GIFT, as have many Indian banks. Singapore Co-operation Enterprises, a government agency, has just signed an agreement with GIFT to develop a banking enclave.
    "Liberty to transact in foreign currency at the IFSC in GIFT will significantly raise foreign firms' investment and participation in India," says SS Thakur, former chairman of HDFC and former controller of foreign exchange in the Reserve Bank of India. Similar financial centres in Hong Kong, Dubai, China, Malaysia, the UK (London) and the US (New York) contribute 5-60% of GDP of their respective countries. GIFT is expected to create 10 lakh jobs in 10 years.
    Fairwood Consultants, which developed the first master plan, had envisaged a 'next-class city'. It proposed 110 buildings with the tallest being 88 stories. "God does not give us land anymore," says Vikas Chopra, senior vice-president of Fairwood, which is no longer associated with the project. Concentrating urban life into a small area was an eminently 21st Century concept as it made many services cost-effective and environment-friendly.

    However, GIFT will have to wait a while to go vertical. Currently, it has clearance to build only up to 122 metres since the airport is seven km away. In 6-7 years, the airport will shift to a new location, allowing GIFT to soar high.
    GIFT had made changes to the original plan, which had proposed subterranean roads and four levels of underground parking, leaving the surface purely for pedestrians. It had also envisaged a Personal Rapid Transit System similar to the one operational at London's Heathrow airport and one planned for Amritsar. Now, the parking will be on the surface since underground parking and roads are too expensive.
    The Personal Mass Rapid Transit System has been dropped as the Metro would come right up to GIFT. However, cars will remain in the periphery as residents and visitors will use district-cooled, moving walkways to get to the city centre. The city is being planned in such a way that future planners do not have to dig for 100 years.
    The first phase of GIFT would experiment with new technology concepts to see if they can be replicated on a larger scale. It would involve two 30-storey buildings with around 10,000 people working inside. The investment for infrastructure in this phase would be Rs 1,400 crore, and around Rs 10,000 crore for all the three phases. The city would need a total investment of Rs 78,000 crore.

    Source:Economic Times
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  • India's first special investment region to come up in Gujarat

    Aditi Phadnis / New Delhi Jan 16, 2012
    Likely to attract investments of $90 billion over the next decade.
    With the first two phases of town planning and zonation completed this month, the country’s first special investment region (SIR) at Dholera in Gujarat is set to take off. The endeavour in Ahmedabad district is likely to bring investment amounting to $90 billion to the western state over the next ten years
    To be created around the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) with financial cooperation from Japan, the project has already attracted attention — not just for its unique land acquisition model, but also for the financial and investment opportunities it will represent. A delegation of 150 senior management-level Japanese investors engaged in business ranging from manufacturing to banking to trading and logistics will be in Ahmedabad this Thursday to assess opportunities in what will be the world’s first real smart city.

    An SIR is different from an SEZ (special economic zone) —it is bigger and is not merely export-oriented; instead offers a range of services. In Dholera, for instance, a residential city to grow vertically based on digital planning will coexist with industrial estates, a hub of financial and banking services and educational institutions.
    Dholera — an ancient port-city in the Gulf of Khambhat — has benefited from its location. It is largely arid, saline land, where agriculturists have no pangs in parting with their land because farming is so difficult. The government has acquired land after three rounds of intensive consultations with landowners. Even then, it could acquire only 50 per cent of the land needed. The rest is still with the farmer who can, after it appreciates in value, either sell it to developers outright, or claim a share in its development later, or sell it to government. “This model will avoid situations like (western Uttar Pradesh’s) Bhatta Parsaul,” said Gujarat Resident Commissioner Bharat Lal. “There farmers got compensation for the land they lost owing to acquisition, but the government later sold it to developers at very much higher rates. This gave the farmers the feeling of being cheated.”
    When finally completed, the SIR will span 903 sq km on both sides of the DMIC. Almost two-thirds of the proposed investments in the DMIC project is expected to take place in Gujarat alone. The identified industrial nodes will be developed as global manufacturing and commercial hubs. All kinds of infrastructure both within and outside the nodes will be developed to global standards. The biggest strength of Gujarat is its long coastline and operational major and minor ports on it. The goods manufactured in the DIMC Industrial nodes can be exported through Gujarat ports. The imported goods from the Gujarat ports could also be sent more efficiently to the northern Indian hinterland through a dedicated freight corridor (DFC).
    But there lies the rub. While the DMIC — the Gujarat leg — is being developed at supersonic speed, the DFC is lagging way behind, crippled by issues of coal linkages, land acquisition and planning problems. Infrastructure experts say Dholera might become a showcase Indian city. But no one will go there if there is no means to run trains to and from it.
    That is a problem the Gujarat government is grappling with as well. But in the meantime, work on Dholera is going on apace. British infrastructure development Halcrow was contracted as the master planners. Cisco and IBM have got the contract to develop Dholera as a smart city. This means, it will have a centralised digital control of all infrastructural facilities such as water, power and gas traffic through an underground sensor system reporting to a central control room.
    DMIDC said it would be hard to create such modern systems in existing cities, because you would then have to dig up roads. “With this system in place, for instance, no one who lives in Dholera will ever get stuck in a traffic jam,” pointed out DMIDC chief Amitabh Kant. “For, the system will automatically sense where traffic is being held up. It will ask travellers via SMS to avoid certain roads. There can be no theft or wastage of water or power, because the advanced systems will assess how much water and power you actually use.”
    Some infrastructure experts believe the whole model is flawed. Even as they concede that Gujarat is the most ready for DMIC, they say the city’s planning approach to DMIC is wrong — in the absence of freight facilities. But the Gujarat government is bullish about the project that represents unprecedented state-Centre cooperation regardless of political differences.
    Source:Business Standard
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  • it will boost real estate of ahmedabad
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  • there's news in papers today that phase I i.e. the SEZ phase is going to commence shortly. Please keep posting whenever u hear of any developments on that front..would be interesting to see what comes up on offer in GIFT!!!
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  • GIFT opens doors to pvt developers

    Paul John, TNN | Feb 4, 2012
    AHMEDABAD: The long-awaited green signal for inviting private developers to the ambitious Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) at Gandhinagar has come through. GIFT will open its doors to private developers by mid-February for construction of office and residential blocks.
    A requisition for qualification-cum-request for proposal is now ready, said GIFT sources, and will be released shortly by the concerned authorities. The offer will be open to developers for both domestic and international players. A total of four buildings that are 122 meters high are being proposed at the site.
    The large chunk of land identified by GIFT is in addition to the QC1 and QC2 blocks that are being developed by Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited (IL&FS) currently.
    GIFT officials claimed that out of the two million square feet to be launched in the market, one million square feet will be in the SEZ area. Close to 0.5 million square feet will be launched for development in non-SEZ area, while an equal space will be launched to develop residential units in SEZ area. As of now, IL&FS is developing 7.7 million square feet. Two contractors L&T India and ANC Dubai are being roped in for the construction.
    Each of the high-rise buildings will have 29 floors. An international school, hospital and a hotel and an exhibition center are already under construction. A special international market zone spread over two million square feet is being developed in GIFT.
    "With the Software Technology Park of India (STPI) benefits coming to an end this year and tax incentives for co-developers in SEZ area next year, there is a serious need for accommodating migrating IT/ITeS companies by March 2014, as the direct tax code comes into force. For co-developers in SEZs, this deadline is fixed on March 2012. Not only will the co-developer get a 10-year tax exemptions, but also earn from the exemptions on the property units they construct for 15 years in SEZ area," says a senior official at GIFT.
    Source:Times of India
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