People in Navi Mumbai hold a local job and travel to work in a matter of minutes, while most people spend hours commuting from home to office and back daily in Mumbai.
A recent survey by the City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) reveals that 67% of the satellite city’s working population that’s two-third of the employees hold a job in Navi Mumbai, while the rest travel to Mumbai for work.
According to the survey, the Navi Mumbaikar’s average commuting time to work is 38 minutes and 60% of Navi Mumbai’s working population works in offices. “Unlike other extended areas of Mumbai like Thane, Kalyan-Dombivli and Vasai-Virar, which serve as dormitories and most of their residents have to commute to Mumbai, the planned city of Navi Mumbai has an independent, self-sufficient economy, offering lakhs of jobs to not only its own residents but also to residents of Mumbai,” Suhas Gokhale, a consultant in urban planning, said.
The situation will get better in the years to come after another round of new jobs are generated once infrastructure projects like the proposed Special Economic Zone and the airport area is developed, he said. The bulk of the jobs in Navi Mumbai is in the IT/ITES industry, with each of the business parks like Vashi Infotech Park, Millennium Business Park and Airoli Infotech Park housing thousands of jobs.
After concentrating on industrial development for generation of jobs from the 70s to the mid-90s, Cidco shifted its focus in the late 90s towards the infotech industry.
Today, Navi Mumbai has all the ingredients to attract the infotech biggies affordable office space, support infrastructure and steady stream of manpower. “The effort to attract talented professionals to work and stay in Navi Mumbai has done wonders to the image as well as economy of Navi Mumbai,” a senior Cidco official said.
The Cidco’s efforts to set up a Software Technology Park of India (STPI) office in Navi Mumbai in 1999 turned the tide in the city’s favour and led to the setting up of thousands of new IT/ITES offices. Sops like corporate tax holiday for 15 years, local clearance for projects below Rs10 million, 100% foreign equity participation, duty-free imports and exemption from local taxes for domestic purchases encouraged the setting up of new business and generation of new jobs locally.
To makes things easier, the satellite city has wide and well-developed roads which save lot of time while commuting a far cry from the long hours it takes in Mumbai for the same distance to be traversed.
To attract the best professionals for the industry driven by human resources, Cidco simultaneously encouraged private developers to offer the best lifestyle alternatives like entertainment multiplexes, eating-out joints, sports facilities with even a golf course thrown in. All in the quest to change the profile of Navi Mumbai from an industrial belt to a knowledge corridor.
Besides the IT/ITES sector, the other major employers in Navi Mumbai are services like banking and insurance, retail and the hotel industry, not to mention the thousands of jobs at the APMC and at the industrial areas of Thane-Belapur-Taloja that account for bulk employment at the bottom of the employment chain.
“Navi Mumbai is the city with a future. And with each passing year, it is emerging as a complete self-sustaining city offering work and lifestyle far better than Mumbai,” Sunil Chopra, general manager of 5-star Tunga Regenza, said. Chopra has worked around the world and has made Navi Mumbai his home for the past five years.