The Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT), the first of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious plans to build 100 smart cities, will soon have in place an iconic futuristic green tower for members of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Brokers’ Forum.

The BSE Brokers’ Forum has decided to invest Rs1.2 billion (Dh72 million) to set up this tower with the intention of setting up their back-office operations to this new location as it will offer modern facilities at a significantly low cost.

The forum has been allotted 300,000 square feet for development of a commercial building and it is expected that the BSE may also set up an exchange office in this new building at GIFT. The BSE Brokers’ Forum has been playing a vital role in the development of the capital market in general and trading members in particular. Currently, the BSE brokers hold around 40 per cent equity in the BSE.

With more than 5,000 companies being listed on the exchange, BSE is the world’s number one exchange in terms of listed members. A significant growth is expected in the Indian equity and commodity markets in future and in this regard, GIFT city will offer world-class back-office operation facilities at very competitive rates.

With state-of-the-art infrastructure, GIFT city is emerging as a location not to be missed out by various financial institutions for setting up their operations. Leading banks like State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Syndicate Bank, Corporation Bank, HDFC Bank and others have already been allotted space in this new smart city.

Planned as an international financial services centre, in the coming years it is expected to have more stock exchanges from across the world, with the Gujarat government hoping GIFT will emerge as India’s first international financial services centre and offer offshore banking facilities. Allotments have also been made for the World Trade Centre, ICSE School, training centre, business club, retail mall, hotels and residential apartments.

Interestingly, the phenomenal development of Dubai International Finance Centre, Dubai Multi Commodity Centre and Dubai Metro has inspired and spurred the Gujarat government to decide on tie-ups with these organisations to develop and promote GIFT city.

GIFT city, a government of Gujarat project in partnership with IL&FS, was conceptualised since it was felt India is not able to fully realise its vast potential in financial service because Indian cities do not have the required infrastructure. If India wants to compete with international hubs, it was felt its cities will have to provide global standards in infrastructure, office space, internet telephone connectivity and lifestyle opportunities which would attract top talent.

GIFT city is estimated to provide 500,000 direct and an equal number of indirect jobs which would require 62 million sq ft of real estate office and residential space.