Labourers pull a trolley with packing material at the Noida Special Economic Zone. (Photographer: Pankaj Nangia/Bloomberg)

Commerce Ministry Seeks Stakeholders’ Views On Report To Revive SEZs

The Commerce Ministry on Tuesday said it had sought stakeholders' views on a report submitted by a panel to revive special economic zones.

A committee headed by Bharat Forge Chairman Baba Kalyani on promoting SEZs submitted its recommendations in November last year.

The panel, which was appointed by the ministry, suggested continuation of tax incentives and an array of other measures to revamp SEZs.

SEZs, which once contributed significantly to the country’s exports, started losing sheen after the government decided to roll back tax incentives and imposed minimum alternate tax and dividend distribution tax.

"The suggestions (of stakeholders) on the report are required to be sent latest by Jan. 30," the ministry said in a statement.

Other suggestions of the panel include renaming of SEZs to employment and economic enclaves, extension of sunset clause, incentives linked with investments, employment, technology and value addition, simplification of processes and tax benefits to services sector.

Swift resolution of disputes through arbitration, flexibility in the dual-usage norms for non-processing areas in SEZs and extension of micro, small and medium enterprise schemes to these zones are some other recommendations of the panel.

The SEZ Act, 2005, supported by SEZ rules, came into effect on Feb. 10, 2006. Exports from SEZs grew about 15 percent to Rs 5.52 lakh crore in 2017-18 compared with the previous fiscal.

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