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Narendra Modi consitutes team to review SEZ issues

Livemint:  August, 2014

Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Saturday, said the government has constituted a high-level team to review the problems of large number of stalled special economic zone (SEZ) projects across the country.

While laying the foundation stone of port-led SEZ at country’s largest state-run container port, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), near Navi Mumbai, Modi said his government is concern about stalled SEZ projects and the high-level team is expected to resolve problems faced these projects at the earliest.

SEZs are industrial enclaves, deemed foreign territories from the perspective of several economic laws. Industrial units in the SEZ benefit from a complete waiver on import duty, excise duty and service tax on the capital goods or raw materials they procure.

The prime minister said his government had conceived ‘Sagarmala’, a project for maritime states.

“This would envisage not merely port development, but port-led development which would include ports, SEZs; and rail, road, air and waterway connectivity with the hinterland, including linkages of cold storage and warehousing facilities,” Modi said.

Modi said two-third of all global trade and 50% of container trade happens through the Indian ocean.

“Ports can become gateways to India’s prosperity,” Modi said, during his second visit to Maharasthra.

The port-led SEZ at JNPT is a Rs6,000 crore project of industrial infrastructure spread over 277 hectares. It is planned as a self-sustainable integrated development project having potential to generate 1.5 lakh direct and indirect jobs. The SEZ will be developed through a special purpose vehicle under the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) mode and is expected to be ready in three years.

Modi said export promotion is the need of the hour.

“Until we join manufacturers in export promotion, and unless states and centre work together, we cannot achieve new heights in exports”, Modi said.

He added that the union government had recently convened a meeting with states to understand bottlenecks in exports, and states would soon be given the right to form their own export promotion councils.

“Let there be competition among states for exports,” the prime minister added.

The prime minister also laid the foundation stone for widening of port connectivity road from JNPT to the national highway.