Out of the 574 formal approvals granted so far for setting up Special Economic Zones in the country, 391 SEZs at present stand notified.
At a meeting of the Board of Approval for SEZs held earlier this month in New Delhi, its Chairman and Commerce Secretary S.R. Rao informed members that as on November 8th, 2013, over Rs. 2,81,133.91 crore had been invested in SEZs. The number of people provided direct employment in SEZs totaled 11,56,677. During the financial year 2012-13, exports from SEZs stood at Rs. 4,76,159 crore, registering a growth of 31 percent over the previous financial year. In the current financial year, till September 30th, exports totaled Rs. 2,46,646 crore, registering a growth of 3 percent over the corresponding period of the previous financial year.
The meeting of the BoA was convened to consider proposals for setting up SEZs as well as proposals in respect of notified/approved SEZs.
Among the proposals taken up in the meeting was that of Kerala State IT Infrastructure Limited for setting up a 7.4909 ha sector specific SEZ for IT/ITES in Thrissur district. Taking into consideration the recommendation of the state government in support of the proposal and the fact that the developer had possession of the land, the BoA granted formal approval.
The meeting of the BoA also considered requests for co-developer status, decrease in SEZ area, extension of validity of in-principle approval, extension of validity of formal approval, de-notification, extension of Letter of Permission, extension of LoP in case of plastic recycling units, extension of LoP in case of units dealing in worn and used clothing, change in sector of SEZ and several other miscellaneous proposals.
The BoA extended the validity of in-principle approval to Posco India Private Limited and Vikram Logistic Maritime Services Private Limited. In case of the former, the validity was extended for one year up to October 24th, 2014, and for the latter, up to October 15th, 2014.
While considering requests for extension of validity of formal approval, the BoA observed that extensions should not be granted unless some progress had been made on ground by developers. It decided to extend the validity of formal approval in case of requests for extensions beyond fifth year for a period of one year and those beyond sixth year for a period of 6 months from the date of expiry of last extension. Accordingly, the validity of formal approval was extended for 27 companies. The request of one company for extension of validity of formal approval got rejected on the ground that the progress made since the grant of the last extension was unsatisfactory. The decision of the Department of Commerce to extend the validity of formal approval to Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation for setting up a sector specific SEZ in Satara district up to September 26th, 2012, was also ratified at the meeting.
The BoA approved three requests for de-notification. The proposals for de-notification were put up by Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation Limited for a sector specific SEZ for handicrafts notified over an area of 72.37 ha in Jodhpur district, Parsvnath Infra Limited (formerly Parsvnath SEZ limited) for a sector specific SEZ for IT/ITES notified over an area of 13.5426 ha in Dehradun and Mayar Infrastructure Development Private Limited for a sector specific SEZ for biotechnology notified over an area of 25.7177 ha in Gurgaon district. It was decided at the meeting that all future cases of partial or full de-notification of SEZs would be processed on file by the Department of Commerce.