Thursday, February 08, 2007

Structure of SEZ unlikely to be changed

Times Of India

MUMBAI: The Union Government on Thursday said it was unlikely that the basic structure of the SEZ policy would be changed and the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) would meet after the Budget to bring more clarity to the existing policy.

"The EGoM is going to meet again after the Budget. They may bring in some clarification. But, I don't think that the basic structure of the rule is going to be changed," Union Commerce Secretary G K Pillai, who is also the Chairman of the SEZ Board of Approval said.

The UPA government has put a halt on agricultural land acquisition for industrial purposes following protests from different quarters.

Pillai said that so far 235 SEZ applications have got formal approval, while 162 have bagged in-principle nod from the Board of Approvals.

The Union Commerce secretary said that these 235 proposed SEZs, being set up across 17 states and three Union Territories would require "only 34,510 hectares of land" but bring in 8.9 lakh jobs and an investment of Rs 59,000 crore.

So far 63 SEZs have been notified out of which 23 are operational. These 23 have created 15,800 jobs and brought in Rs 11,000 crore investment in one year, Pillai said.

He said that both the Union Finance and Commerce Ministries were working on a report to judge the socio-economic benefits of SEZs.

"We expect these reports will come out in the next three months," Pillai said.

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