No amendment to Special Economic Zone Act: Govt

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New Delhi, Mar 12 (UNI) The Government is not considering any amendment to the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Act, 2005, the Rajya Sabha was told today.

Replying to questions during Question Hour, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said SEZ Act is an ''important engine of our economic growth'' and no changes will be brought in the Act.

'' The policy is working well and smoothly, no amendment or change will be brought to the Act,'' he added.

The questions were raised by Left members D Raja and Penumalli Madhu on impact of global economic slowdown on the future and utility of numerous SEZs in the country and change on the policy.

He said it was too early to conclude that the international economic slowdown could impact Indian exports.

''During 2006-07 exports from SEZs was of the order of Rs 34,615 crore as compared to Rs 22,840 crore in 2005-06.... In the financial year till December, 2007, exports have reached Rs 40,000 crore,'' he added.

The Minister's reply led to a noisy scene in the House with members, including Left, BJP and SP, objecting to it and demanding a debate on the contentious issue.

The members, including Left leaders Sitaram Yechury and D Raja and BJP's M Venkaiah Naidu, expressed dissatisfaction with the Minister's statement, saying that the policy was being violated and land being misused by real estate developers.

Chairman Hamid Ansari then agreed to the members' demand of conducting a debate on the issue and asked them to inform the Minister of any violation of SEZ policy within the next 24 to 48 hours.

Mr Kamal Nath said under the SEZ Act formal approvals have been granted for setting up of 439 zones of which 202 have been notified and 201 applications are pending.

''The 439 approved SEZs are likely to extend over 60,168 hectares in 22 states and union territories,'' he added.

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