NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed Special Economic Zone (Amendment) Bill with voice vote even while the Opposition grilled the government for a spate of ordinances in the days preceding the announcement of general elections.
The amended Bill proposes to allow “trusts and entities” to set up SEZs on the premise that the move would give a boost to domestic and foreign investment to spur employment and exports.
Replying to the debate on the Bill, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said the government had incorporated three recommendations of the Baba Kalyani report, while another five would be implemented through administrative orders.
Earlier, RSP member N K Premchandran asked why trusts were being allowed to set up SEZs. He wondered if the move was aimed to benefit certain entities. He also questioned the government’s tendency to promulgate ordinances, saying the object of the Bill didn’t mention any emergency circumstances which could have justified bypassing the parliamentary route in legislating.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor backed Premchandran and alleged that the government was treating Parliament as a rubber stamp. He said the objective behind SEZs was to create 100 million jobs, which hadn’t come true yet.
BJP MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy also asked Goyal to clarify on the data that only 5,500 hectares of land out of the total 48,000 hectares acquired for SEZs are actually being utilized.
Goyal said the President looks into the merits of the ordinances before approving their promulgations.