Special Economic Zone ( SEZ ) Act will be scraped

Special Econmic zone actThe Government on 23rd May 2012 has clearly announced that it is scrapping the West Bengal SEZ Act 2003.

As per The Times of India report: The Mamata Banerjee government announced that it is scrapping the West Bengal SEZ Act 2003. The chief minister had already made it clear that she was against allowing SEZ (special economic zone) status to Infosys, this move has made her stand official.

State commerce and industries minister Partha Chatterjee on Wednesday said that the state government was keen to see Infosys setting up its campus in the state. However, reiterating Trinamool’s stand against SEZs, Chatterjee said: “I want Infosys to invest in Bengal. But our government has a stand on the basis of principles that we are against SEZ and the decision to scrap the SEZ Act was taken by the cabinet sub-committee on industries and infrastructure.” The state cabinet will take the final call.

Mamata had earlier stated that no exception will be made for Infosys by granting it an SEZ status. Chatterjee said that the industries sub-committee was going to give an alternative proposal to Infosys and hoped that there will be investment in the IT sector despite the official policy. Chatterjee is, in fact, holding talks with Infosys on their proposal.

Infosys has, however, made it clear that “in principle” it would be difficult for the company to set up a campus in Bengal without SEZ status. The Left Front government had allotted 50 acres of land to Infosys at the satellite township of Rajarhat for which IT major had reportedly paid Rs 75 crore.

The decision to scrap the SEZ Act was taken because neither does the state government have an SEZ policy and nor is the government in favour of abolishing provisions of the Urban Land Ceiling Act. Moreover, many companies enjoying tax holidays in the SEZ have wound up after the expiry of the tax holiday period. Chatterjee, who is also the IT minister, said that the state government is going to formulate its new IT policy within a fortnight. The state last had an IT policy in 2003.

The state’s draft IT policy, which is going to be tabled in the cabinet, will lay emphasis on the hardware sector. A team of experts will therefore be visiting Taiwan soon to get a first-hand idea of hardware institutes. The draft IT policy has suggested setting up of IT industries in Kolkata, Asansol, Kalyani and Siliguri.

The policy focuses more on tier-II and tier-III cities of the state in order to bring in desired growth in IT.

The draft policy, chalked out in consultation with NR Narayana Murthy and technocrat Sam Pitroda, has set a target to raise the state’s share (by value) in production of electronic goods in India from 3% at present to 15% by 2020. It also aims at making Bengal among the top three IT states by 2017. The draft was recast after it went to the IT committee members.

The policy will give more clear guidelines for the growth of IT software and hardware industries in the state. It will also emphasize on Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM). So far, the state has been lagging behind in this sector.

Asked about the state’s progress in the sector IT compared to bigger states in the country like Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, Nasscom regional manager (east) Suparno Moitra said: “IT growth has always been a city-based growth and not a state-based growth. Tier-II and tier-III cities are definitely cost competitive, but it is important that the infrastructure is in place.”

The focus areas would be high revenue generating sectors like financial services and banking, insurance, retail & distribution, engineering design and life sciences. A lot of employable human resource will be required.

Chatterjee also said that Indian Institute of Information Technology is coming up at Kalyani which will be jointly run by Coal India, Roalta, and JSW.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.