Govt policies blocking SEZs go-ahead: Assocham

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New Delhi, Jan 1: There are as many as 250 proposals to create Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in 21 states still languishing for their approvals from various government, mainly due to disputes on compensation package and acquisition of agriculture land in the absence of suitable relief and rehabilitation package.

An analysis conducted by Industrial body Assocham says these proposals were to be cleared latest by mid of calendar 2006, but continue to linger on for proper sanctions as dispute on agriculture land acquisition is unlikely to be resolved quickly.

The 250 proposals will require about 25,000 hectares of land and have been awaiting approvals for the last 7-8 months with an estimated investment of over Rs 3,000 crore even in forward looking states like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and West Bengal.

''Maharashtra has yet to give its nod to 41 SEZ proposals on various grounds, significant among them include problems relating to acquisition of agriculture land and setting the right quantum for compensation,'' reveals the findings of Chamber.

Karnataka, in which SEZ promoters have yet to obtain government approval for 36 SEZ for the aforesaid reasons, in Tamil Nadu 33 proposals for SEZ creation are still languishing as regards to obtaining government sanctions.

The states like Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Punjab respectively have yet to approve SEZ proposals for 16, 2, 5, 2, 2, 4 and 4. The other states which await SEZ approvals include Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Asom, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Chandigarh. In these states respective approvals ranging from 9, 5, 1, 1, 7, 1, 18, 23, 17 and 1 are pending.

So far, as per the Special Economic Zone Act, 2005, 237 SEZs have been granted approvals out of which 44 SEZs have been notified. 15 SEZs are currently functional. Among the approved SEZ, Maharashtra has the highest share for 48, followed by Andhra Pradesh for which all clearances have been given for putting up of 45 SEZs.

The State of Karnataka ranks third with 29 SEZs having been given approval followed by Tamil Nadu for which 25 SEZs are approved.

Haryana and Gujarat are among the states for which 19 and 18 SEZs have respectively been given sanctions, the Chamber says.

Delhi has necessary sanctions for one SEZ while Jharkhand, Orissa, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the number of SEZs approved comprise 1, 5, 4, 4 and 3 respectively. West Bengal is one such state for which seven SEZs are approved while in case of Kerala, it is 10 and Uttar Pradesh, Chandigarh, Puducherry and Uttarahchal, the numbers are respectively 8, 2, 1 and 3.

According to Assocham findings, these SEZs will create over 15 lakh job opportunities by 2010 and generate revenue gains for government through additional economic activities in these SEZs.

It also highlights that India's median age is just under 25 years. Two-thirds of these 500 million are supported by the agricultural sector, a sector which contributes just 21 per cent to the GDP. These people have rising aspirations and must find jobs in manufacturing and services sectors. If substantial job creation does not take place, it would have serious, if not disastrous, social and economic implications for the country.

''The total area of five major SEZ in China is less than 1 per cent of the whole country but the GDP of these zones accounts for more than 7 per cent of China's GDP, a fifth of the country's trade and one fifth of FDI,'' Assocham Chief Anil K Agarwal said.

The rate of growth of these zones has been double the national average and India needs to emulate China on SEZ patterns, he added.

The chamber also suggests that IT SEZ could be developed and made operational within a period of six months from the date of notification. Thus over 130 approved IT sector SEZs would immediately result into an investment of nine billion dollars to 12 billion dollars resulting into massive employment generation.

The IT specific SEZs in India can help capture more than 50 per cent of this opportunity.


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