Gift City – Gujarat
Planned as the next Singapore in Asia, GIFT city (Gujarat International Finance Tec- City) located in India’s western state of Gujarat is an integrated development on 886 acres of land with 62 mn sq. ft. of built up area, which includes office spaces, residential apartments, schools, hospital, hotels, clubs, retail and various recreational facilities, with an aim to make this place a truly “Walk to Work” city. GIFT city consists of a conducive Multi-Service SEZ (Special Economic Zone) and an exclusive Domestic Area.
GIFT city is built to be a vertical city, which will optimize land area consumption for development. It is located on the bank of river Sabarmati connecting the state of Gujarat’s business capital (Ahmedabad) and the political capital (Gandhinagar). Gujarat is also referred to as the growth engine of India. GIFT city in essense is a new financial and technology gateway of India for the World.
That said, the city has managed to preserve its own culture and the most commonly spoken language continues to be Gujarati. However, the languages spoken in commerce, education, politics and government are Hindi and English.
Aside from the monsoon season, the climate is extremely dry. The weather is hot from March to June, with an average summer maximum of 43°C (109°F), and an average minimum of 24°C (75°F). From November to February, the average maximum temperature is 30°C (86°F), the average minimum is 13°C (55°F), and the climate is extremely dry. Cold northerly winds are responsible for a mild chill in January. The southwest monsoon brings a humid climate from mid-June to mid-September.
GIFT city has developed considerably in the last few years, offering a range of accommodation options. It has commercial and residential complexes, shopping malls, multiplexes and other places of interest for inhabitants. It also has all basic facilities like schools, hospitals, banks and malls in the vicinity. The expat localities have independent houses and apartments. Some of the newly constructed apartments are well planned and luxurious with modular kitchen and modern fixtures and fittings.
GIFT city is equipped with some of the latest technologies known to man. From the latest public transport, to automated waste collection to an efficient district cooling system, GIFT city has the best amenities available for its residents.
If you’re looking for fine dining options in GIFT city, you’ll have no shortage of options but it is the street food of the city that attracts thousands of gastronomes. Street food is so popular in the city that many prefer it over restaurant food. Moreover, street food is noted because people from all economic classes eat on the roadside almost round the clock. You’ll find revellers relisheshing Gujarati delicacies such as Khakhra, Fafda, Dhokla, Thepla, Dalvada, Dabeli, Khandvi, and Patara, which continue to be some of the most popular food items in GIFT city.
If you’re not a vegetarian then you might find it challenging to find anything to eat on the streets. Even most of the restaurants in the city serve only vegetarian food as a strong tradition of vegetarianism is maintained by the city’s Jain and Hindu communities.
Healthcare in GIFT city is provided through several hospitals and medical colleges – both government and private. However, public facilities don’t often meet international standards and you’re better off going to a private hospital. Some of the best hospitals in Gujarat are Shalby Hospital, Zydus Hospitals, Columbia Asia Hospital, Krishna Heart Institute, Apollo Hospitals and SAL Hospital.
There are few local schools in the vicinity of GIFT city but there are no international schools. However, with close proximity to Ahmedabad, we can choose from here as well. Ahmedabad, today, is considered a desirable destination to pursue education and is a favored educational destination among many nationalities. The schools and other educational institutions in Ahmedabad are either run by the NCT government or by private organizations. Some of the schools offering ICSE curriculum are Mahatma Gandhi International School, Olive Green International School and Ahmedabad International School.
GIFT city is a planned business district developed as a response to Singapore. It is the new business destination offering competitive edge to financial services and technology related activities. An integrated development with walk-to-work concept adds immense value to the business activities.
Before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the Indian government had made several changes to the country’s visa policies, making it easier for foreign nationals to travel to India for work or for leisure. Indian visas are divided between Regular Visas, e-Visas and Visa-on-Arrival. As per the recent changes now an applicant can apply for e-Tourist or e-Business Visa any time before his travel to India. The validity of the visa has now been made 365 days. Thus, an applicant can enter India any day post the grant of e-Tourist and e-Business visa until any time in the next 365 days.
Maximum continuous stay period allowed under e-Tourist visa is up to 180 days for – USA, UK, Canada and Japan. For other countries it is 90 continuous days. Similarly, under e-Business visa, a continuous stay of 180 days is allowed and there is no requirement for registration. If the stay exceeds 180 days or if the aggregate stay in a calendar year has increased by 180 days then the applicant is required to register with the FRRO/FRO within 2 weeks of the completion of 180 days in India.
India also has a facility for visa-on-arrival, which has now been extended to nationals of South Korea and UAE also in addition to Japanese nationals. For UAE nationals though they are eligible for this category of visa only if they have applied for e-Visa and/or Regular sticker visa in the past. The validity of the visa is 60 days and can be used for tourism, business, conference and medical visit purposes. Pakistan-origin UAE nationals are not eligible for this visa category and would need to apply for a regular or e-Visa.
Currently, the regular Tourist Visa, e-Visas and Visa-on-Arrival remain to be suspended until further notice due to the Pandemic. All other visa categories that are – Employment, Dependent, Student and Business Visa are being issued by the Indian missions abroad. In-country visa services like Resident Permit, Visa Extension, Change of Address/Passport etc are being processed smoothly.