In a move that will act as a shot in the arm for setting up of finance hubs in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), the state government has decided to open up its policy on information technology (IT) parks, by allowing 30% of the built-up area on such plots to be given out for financial services.
Also, 20% of the built area of such parks can be diverted for residential and recreational facilities, including serviced apartments, clubs and restaurants. The move will give existing IT park developers, who have enjoyed substantial sops from the government over the past decade, including a 100% floor space index (FSI) over and above what is permissible, a wider berth to sell unused area for commercial and financial exploitation.
Outside the Mumbai-Pune region, in other metros such as Nagpur and Nashik, nearly 40% of the built-up area can be diverted for residential, recreational and other support facilities.
The state’s urban development department (UDD) had issued a notification last month stating the proposal of the industries department to modify the existing regulations of the Maharashtra Industries Development Act has been accepted. While the UDD has allowed such changes only for plots measuring more than one hectare in the MMR and the Pune Metropolitan Region, the ceiling has been removed for MIDC areas at Marol, Mhape, TTC (Navi Mumbai) and Wagle Industrial Estate in Thane. In all such cases, at least 50% of the built-up area will have to be utilised for IT purposes.
The state government is also looking at setting up at an International Finance Centre (IFC) at Mumbai, headquartered at the Bandra-Kurla Complex, with nodes in TTC, new airport city in Panvel and Marol. With the city lacking enough space for a greenfield IFC to be developed, similar to Ahmedabad’s GIFT, existing industrial enclaves such as IT parks that have ready infrastructure can be used to house back offices for insurance, finance companies and banks.
The move is also indicative of the fact that the IT wave in the state may be on the decline. The state has nearly 1,000-odd IT parks and maximum of its SEZs are related to IT. At the same time, these provisions make IT parks more viable.
The state’s IT policy, which was first introduced in 1998, and revised thrice since, has given substantial sops to developers to promote technology parks and IT exports. IT parks have mushroomed in
Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Pune and in several cases after using the sops offered, these parks have been utilised for purposes other than hosting software or technology firms.