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  • Govt clears 11 new SEZ proposals

    Published on September 17, 2010

    The government on Thursday cleared 11 new proposals to set up special economic zones, including those of Infosys and Wipro.

    In its meeting in New Delhi, the inter-ministerial Board of Approval (BoA) also approved India’s largest stainless steel producer JSL’s proposal to surrender its sector-specific SEZ in Orissa, Commerce Ministry Additional Secretary D K Mittal told a news agency.

    The board, headed by Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar, also gave the nod to realty major Raheja Universal Ltd’s request to surrender its SEZ in Maharashtra, Mittal said.

    Infosys Technologies’ IT SEZ would come up in an area of 24.4 hectares in Karnataka, while Wipro Ltd got approval to set up two IT/ITeS tax-free enclaves over 19.4 and 29.9 hectares in the state, Mittal added.

    The BoA also gave the green signal to Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust’s port-based multi-product SEZ in Mumbai.

    The Centre has also given additional time to 37 SEZ developers, including Wipro, Mahindra and Mahindra and Ansal SEZ Projects, to execute their projects, he said.

    The BoA, however deferred a decision on formulation of norms for SEZ units engaged in recycling of plastic. At present, there is no specific provision in the SEZ Act for such units.

    While the tax-free enclaves have emerged as major sources for attracting investment and increasing exports, entrepreneurs have expressed serious concerns over the DTC Bill introduced in the Lok Sabha last month, saying the proposed tax provisions would adversely impact employment and investment in SEZs.

    The Bill has proposed that only SEZs notified on or before 31st March, 2012, will get tax benefits.

    Furthermore, only those SEZ units that commence commercial operations by March, 2014, shall be allowed the profit-linked deductions permitted under the Income Tax Act, 1961.

    Direct employment in SEZs has gone beyond 5.5 lakh people and investments have crossed Rs 1.66 lakh crore.

    Exports from 114 operational SEZs in the last fiscal were valued at Rs 2.20 lakh crore.