Unity Mall, an initiative of the Government of India, is poised to play a pivotal role in fostering economic development, providing recreational spaces, enhancing tourism, and celebrating the rich cultural heritage of India.
It will serve as a comprehensive marketplace within the states for the promotion and sale of One District One Products, GI Products, Handicraft Products, and other local items.
Unity Malls will be established in each state, preferably in the respective state capital or any other location chosen by the state.
The purpose of Unity Mall is to foster national unity and make progress in the Make in India and Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiatives by offering local artisans opportunities to sell their products, create employment opportunities, facilitate skill development, and contribute to overall economic growth.
Each Unity Mall will have one shop allocated for each state to showcase their GI-tagged products and One District One Product offerings.
Scheme for special assistance to states for capital expenditure:
Unity Malls are funded under the scheme for special assistance to states for capital expenditure.
The scheme aims to stimulate capital expenditure and harness the significant multiplier effect of such expenditure to foster higher economic growth.
Under the scheme, States are given interest-free loans for 50 years, which do not count towards the annual borrowing limit of the state.
Rs 5,000 crore under the scheme has been earmarked for the construction of Unity Malls.
The state government needs to provide land for free and also allocate additional funds for the project.
Design and Amenities of Unity Mall
Standardised design: According to the guidelines of the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, the design and amenities of Unity Mall should symbolise the unity and grandeur of the country.
To ensure uniformity, all Unity Malls across India are required to adhere to a standardised design prescribed by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).
Multilingual languages and logos of One District One Product and Make in India must be integrated into the mall design.
Layout and commercial spaces: Each Unity Mall should incorporate a minimum of 36 commercial spaces with uniform floor space and common rent allocated to each state and Union Territories.
Amenities: Each Unity Mall should include a state-of-the-art food court, parking facilities, and spaces for recreational and cultural activities. Additionally, the mall should offer technology-driven experiences such as virtual reality, augmented reality digital displays, and interactive kiosks.
Public-Private Partnership: The operations and maintenance of Unity Mall will be structured under a public-private partnership. The ownership of the mall remains with the state government while operational and maintenance responsibility will be entrusted to a private party.
Proposal and Approval Process: State governments must submit proposals for Unity Mall to DPIIT, which further recommends them to the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance for approval.
The Ministry of Finance has approved the construction of Unity Malls in eight states, Assam, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Maharashtra, and Tripura.
Key features of approved Unity Malls
Assam: Planned in Guwahati, it incorporates a library, art gallery, museum dedicated to ethnic products, diverse food courts and yoga and meditation hall.
Chhattisgarh: Planned in Raipur, the mall has been designed in an oval shape resembling a rice seed symbolising the state’s agricultural abundance.
Nagaland: Planned in Chumukedima, the mall features theme restaurants, conference rooms, commercial space, and gaming zones.
Madhya Pradesh: Planned in Ujjain, the mall features an iconic Mahakal-Lok elevation design. The mall’s architecture encompasses various distinct zones like Millet Lok reserved for food courts and restaurants, Ekam Lok designed for cultural activities, and Utsav Lok designed for open workshops and performances.
Meghalaya: Planned in New Shillong, the mall serves as a cultural hub showcasing the cultural diversity of Meghalaya.
Gujarat: Planned in Jevadia, the mall’s design is centred around the Ashoka Chakra shape. The mall will have the design of Haveli architecture inside, which was prominent in the historic cities of Gujarat.
Tripura: Planned in Agartala, the mall’s roof will be adorned with the colours of the National flag.
Maharashtra: Established in Navi Mumbai, the mall will include a variety of amenities like children’s play areas, multipurpose halls, mini theatres, etc.