The Union Cabinet has approved the formation of the Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor Development Corporation and consequently the setting up of the Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor.

The Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor is patterned on the lines of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor which uses the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor as the backbone. AKIC is planned to be developed over 150-200 km on either side of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor in a phased manner. It would comprise a belt of at least 5.5 lakh sq. km across the seven states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. The industrial corridor would also optimise the use of the existing highway system on this route as well as the inland water system being developed along National Waterway-1.

Easter Corridor_ProjectsMonitorPhase-I will be a pilot project wherein at least one Integrated Manufacturing Cluster of 10 sq. km each, in each of the seven states, would be set up, as identified by the state governments. The states would, however, be free to set up more than one IMC. Since Uttarakhand is a hill state, it has been given flexibility with regard to the size of the cluster. Both brownfield and greenfield integrated manufacturing clusters can be set up.

Since a substantial part of the area in these states, except Jharkhand, is under agriculture, at least 40 per cent of the land in each Integrated Manufacturing Cluster will be permanently earmarked for manufacturing and agro-processing. The IMCs would be entitled to all the benefits available under the National Manufacturing Policy, 2011, provided they are to be developed within the ambit of the policy.

For infrastructure development, the central government is encouraging public-private partnership mode. While viability gap funding would be available for infrastructure amenable to PPP, trunk infrastructure not amenable to PPP would be developed through central grant-in-aid.

The central government will also provide interest subsidy to the states for land acquisition, grant-in-aid for project development and master planning of the integrated manufacturing clusters, setting up of the corporation, provide external connectivity and all benefits under NMP, 2011, facilitate the establishment of tool room in clusters, enable technology partnership with IITs and NITs, grant of approvals for the IMCs and help the states to promote global investment in the clusters.

On their part the state governments would ensure the availability of land for developing the IMCs, necessary spurs for road infrastructure, facilitate generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, single window clearance mechanism, setting up special purpose vehicles for development of clusters, identify and facilitate anchor industries in the IMCs, and ensure provision of built-up places and low-cost housing.

A three-tier institutional structure at the central level comprising an apex monitoring authority under the Ministry of Industry, an Inter-Ministerial Group under Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, and the AKICDC would be set up for project development, coordination of implementation of the projects and related interstate activity.

At the state level, a cell under Chief Secretary or Industrial Development Commissioner would be constituted. The state governments will also set up a nodal agency at the cluster level for administration of the clusters, or nominate existing special purpose vehicles.

A budgetary support of around Rs.5,600 crore, spread over 15 years, has been estimated in the first pilot phase for setting up the seven integrated manufacturing clusters in the Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor.

Meanwhile, the Union Cabinet has stipulated that the Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor Development Corporation would be set up immediately with a total equity base of Rs.100 crore, with the central government holding 49 per cent stake and the balance equity resting with the state governments, as per option and willingness, and HUDCO. The central government will also provide Rs.100 crore as project development fund to AKICDC.

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