The commerce ministry has urged Maharashtra government to resolve all operational and regulatory issues concerning Navi Mumbai SEZ Ltd by the end of next month, failing which they would be de-notified. The Board of Approval, chaired by Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia at its meeting on July 3, discussed the matter. The inter-ministerial board deals with SEZ related matters. In all these SEZs, development commissioner of Navi Mumbai has not recommended the request for further extension of letter of approvals to these special economic zones (SEZs). There are in all eight proposals of which six zones got formal approval from the BoA in 2007, while the remaining two were approved in 2009. The developer -- Navi Mumbai SEZ Ltd -- has intimated to the board that they have not been able to operationalise the SEZs because the Maharashtra government did not enact the state SEZ Act and in absence of the legislation, entrepreneurs were not willing to set up units in the zones. As the issue has been pending since 2015, the board after deliberations, "decided to allow the Government of Maharashtra up to August 30 to resolve the operational and regulatory issues with the developer and informed the board of its decision by that date, failing which the SEZs would automatically stand de-notified," according to the minutes of the BoA meeting held on July 3. The board was also informed about the observations of the PAC (Public Accounts Committee) and CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) which held that Navi Mumbai SEZ in Maharashtra was granted routine extensions "even though the developer had not complied with the conditions attached to the approval". The board also noted that neither the developer nor the Maharashtra government had come forward with concrete development plans, it said. The eight zones are from IT/ITeS (4), multi-services (2), multi-product (1), gems and jewellery (1) sectors.
All of them are proposed in Maharashtra. An SEZ area is considered to be a foreign territory for trade operations and duties are mainly set up for the export purpose. They are developed as an export hub. Exports from SEZs grew nearly 12 per cent to Rs 5.24 lakh crore in 2016-17.
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