The Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) will be reviewing the special economic zones (SEZ) in the State as part of the nation-wide study to understand the impact of the SEZ policy. It will also study if SEZs have met the economic objectives for which the programme was rolled out.
Addressing a meeting of Export Oriented Units and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) here recently, Director of Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry Sanjeet Singh said that the ministry had entrusted the responsibility of conducting the nationwide study with ICRIER to make suitable policy recommendations on SEZ.
The study will cover Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharasthra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and West Bengal,
“The purpose of the study is to understand the impact of existing special economic zone policy besides it will try to address the common perception among people about SEZs,” he said.
Currently, the government has approved 577 Special Economic Zones, of which 389 are being notified and 170 are operational. Surprisingly, 219 are yet to become operational.
ICRIER external consultant Subhobroto Ray during a presentation highlighted that Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Gujarat had highest number of SEZs. “We will be conducting a primary survey besides drafting questionnaires targeting six to seven states and sectors,” Ray said.
The survey will focus on land reforms, apart from acquisition, infrastructure, job creation, labour relations and governance. The study will also look into the State’s overall industrial strategy, besides its perspective on SEZ.
The move also comes in the wake of government coming out with new guidelines on relaxation of land availability in setting up a SEZ. “In view of the acute difficulties in aggregating large tracts of uncultivable land, the government has decided to reduce the Minimum Land Area Requirement by half — Multi-product SEZ from 1000 hectares to 500 hectares and for Sector-specific SEZ from existing 100 hectares to 50 hectares,” said Singh.
He also said that IT exports constituted a very significant part of India’s exports and IT SEZs had a major contribution in it.
“In a bid to give a fillip to employment and growth in Tier-II and Tier-III cities, the government has done away with present requirement of 10 hectares of minimum land area for setting up an IT or ITES Special Economic Zone. Now Only the minimum built up area criteria would be required to be met by the SEZ developer,” he said.
Exports from IT SEZs during financial year 2012-13 have exceeded Rs 1.40 lakh crore registering a growth of over 70 per cent over the previous year exports.