“Measures like extension of RoDTEP Scheme to SEZs and EoUs are in the pipeline to make SEZs more investor friendly and leverage geopolitical phenomena,” stated Shri S Kishore, Special Secretary, Department of Commerce, Government of India while addressing the Inaugural Session at the Conference on Special Economic Zones: The Way Forward organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) today. He added that recognising the pivotal role played by SEZs in achieving one fourth of the country’s exports and with a view to enhance their contribution, a plethora of reforms has been introduced. These include digitization of processes and promotion of green zones to attract FDI.
Shri Kishore highlighted that there is strong inter-ministerial coordination for addressing policy issues and promoting Indian SEZs as readymade land banks that offer plug and play facility. He stated that one of the added benefits has been the development of inclusive and supportive ecosystems around SEZs. He stressed that the Indian SEZs offer state of art infrastructure which will help in establishing India as the global manufacturing hub and the Government is committed to making them more inclusive for all sectors.
Mr Ravindra Sannareddy, Chairman & Managing Director, Sri City (P) Ltd mentioned that there is a need to adopt a cohesive approach in promoting SEZs. He commended the government for introducing the Industrial Park Rating System which has assessed 41 Industrial Parks as Leaders with as many as 51 SEZs, including 29 Private SEZs. Mr Sannareddy also suggested that Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) should be implemented in line with international best practices, sustainable development should be ensured, presence of manufacturing sectors in SEZs must be increased and ease of living along with ease of doing business should be focussed on.
“SEZs have facilitated the paradigm shift of the Indian economy towards globalisation by creating an industrial ecosystem where you could buy and take services from and going forward, they must be made even more conducive for the developers as well as SEZ units.” stated Mr Sriram Khattar, Managing Director-Rental Business, DLF Group. He further elucidated that to enhance the efficacy of these zones, efforts must be made to ensure ease of exit as the sunset clause for SEZ tax incentives has set in.
Mr Vir S Advani, Chairman, CII National Committee on EXIM &, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Blue Star Ltd, stated that the implementation of the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005 in India has helped in promoting exports, increasing foreign and domestic investment, and stimulating development of infrastructure facilities. He elucidated that to achieve the $ 1 trillion merchandise export target, Government reform measures which are in pipeline, such as RoDTEP need to be extended to SEZs, and tax neutralization scheme should be made available to these units.
Mr Sanjay Budhia, Co-Chairman, CII National Committee on EXIM & Managing Director Patton International Limited, commended the SEZs for playing a pivotal role in helping achieve the country's exports target of USD 400 billion during the current fiscal. Mr Budhia opined that granting infrastructure status to SEZs, formulating separate rules and procedures for manufacturing and services SEZs, and merging the SEZ policy with other schemes such as the national industrial manufacturing zones will also prove to be useful.
Mr Narayan Sethuramon, Co-Chairman, CII National Committee on EXIM & Managing Director, Sanmar Matrix Metals Limited stated that initiatives could be undertaken within the SEZ Policy to avoid revocation of fiscal benefits and make the regulations further flexible to circumvent impediment to infrastructure development and occupancy of existing operational/notified SEZs for boosting investments. He affirmed CII’s commitment to undertake policy advocacy for resolving SEZ related issues including improving infrastructure in the existing SEZs and promoting Ease of Doing Business.
The Conference also witnessed the participation of other eminent panelists including Dr Amiya Chandra, Development Commissioner, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone, Mundra & Additional Director General, Directorate General of Foreign Trade; Mr Unmesh Sharad Wagh, Deputy Chairman, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT); Mr A Bipin Menon, Development Commissioner, Noida Special Economic Zone; Mr Shyam Jagannathan, Zonal Development Commissioner, SEEPZ Special Economic Zone; Mr D V Swamy, Development Commissioner, Cochin Special Economic Zone; Dr B K Panda, Zonal Development Commissioner, Falta Special Economic Zone and SEZs in Eastern and North Eastern Region; Mr Dipesh Shah, Head-Development, International Financial Services Centres Authority and Mr Srikanth Badiga, Group Director, Phoenix Group & Director, World Free Zones Organisation.
6 October 2021