Notwithstanding the widespread protest against the proliferation of special economic zones (SEZs) in the country, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is organising a seminar on the tax-free conclaves in Singapore tomorrow in order to rope in global investors.
The SEZ policy of the country suffered a major setback with the global economic slowdown resulting in large-scale surrender of the lands or extension of the approval period as developers failed to bring in potential clients into these enclaves meant to augment exports from the country.
The seminar is going to be first such public relation exercise that the government is going to undertake in collaboration with the High Commission of India in Singapore. The seminar would be inaugurated by Lim Hng Kiang, minister of trade and industry of Singapore.
More than 30 developers are representing India with a total of 60 representatives, while around 200 investors are expected to participate in the event. Representatives from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh governments would also make presentations in the event.
“This will be first such major event on SEZs that would take place abroad. We hope to make this a regular exercise to promote SEZs in India. Some of the case studies like Mahindra World City and Nokia, among others, would be showcased,” a senior government official told Business Standard.
The seminar will comprise three sessions covering the topics such as foreign investment, government and private initiative, and logistics in the Indian SEZ sector.
Till date, 552 SEZ have received formal approvals, out of which 274 are notified. In-principle approvals have been given to 141 SEZs. Exports from SEZs between April and December 2009 have reached Rs 1,51,785.49 crore, up 127 per cent from Rs 66,638 crore during the same period last financial year. Several protests have erupted in states like Maharashtra, Haryana, West Bengal and Goa against the acquisition of land from SEZs since 2005, when the policy was first formulated.