SEZ : special economic zone
The craze for industrialization has swept India. The central and state governments are all following this trend, throwing caution to air. Prime agricultural lands are being offered for Special Economic Zones (SEZ) leaving the farmers working on these lands with nowhere to go. This SEZing of lands reached its maximum when the West Bengal government allotted fertile agricultural land to Tata Motors for its small car unit to be set up in Singur.
The Union Government’s policy on SEZ came into effect on 1st April 2000. It represents the latest and most planned thinking so far on India’s export policy and may even determine the future of India’s industrial development strategy. SEZs need to be seen in the context of the Indian Government’s attempts to launch second-generation reforms and as a continuation of earlier initiatives to boost exports, namely setting up of export processing zones, export oriented units, software technology parks, export oriented hardware technology parks, export promotion capital goods policy, advance licensing and deemed exports policy and free trade zone policy.
SEZs allow the government to experiment with radical (in the Indian context) economic reform in a sufficiently large geographical area (minimum size 1,000 hectares) but on a localized basis, thus averting the difficulties posed by introducing such reforms at the national level.To instill confidence in investors and signal the Government’s commitment to a stable SEZ policy regime and with a view to impart stability to the SEZ regime thereby generating greater economic activity and employment through the establishment of SEZs, a comprehensive draft SEZ Bill was prepared after extensive discussions with the stakeholders. The Special Economic Zones Act, 2005, was passed by the Parliament in May 2005, which received Presidential assent on the 23rd of June, 2005. After extensive consultations, the SEZ Act, 2005, supported by SEZ Rules, came into effect on 10th February 2006, providing for drastic simplification of procedures and for single window clearance on matters relating to central as well as state governments.