The EOU scheme was introduced in the year 1980 vide Ministry of Commerce resolution dated 31st December 1980. The purpose of the scheme was basically to boost exports by creating additional production capacity. It was introduced as a complementary scheme to the Free Trade Zones/ Export Processing Zone (EPZ) Scheme introduced in the sixties which had not attracted many units due to locational restrictions. The exporters showed willingness to set up units with long term commitment to exports under Customs bond operations provided they had the freedom to locate them in places of their choice and given most of the benefits as provided to units set up in the Zones. Over the years the Scheme has undergone various changes and its scope also expanded substantially as compared to the initial Scheme, which was basically for manufacturing sector with certain minimum value addition in terms of export earnings. The EOU scheme is, at present, governed by the provisions of Chapter 6 of the Foreign Trade Policy, 2009-14 and Chapter 6 of the Handbook of Procedures, Volume-I (HBP). Under this scheme, the units undertaking to export their entire production of goods are allowed to be set up. These units may be engaged in the manufacture, services, development of software, trading, repair, remaking, reconditioning, re-engineering including making of gold/silver/platinum jewellery and articles thereof, agriculture including agro-processing, aquaculture, animal husbandry, bio-technology, floriculture, horticulture, pisiculture, viticulture, poultry, sericulture and granites. The EOUs can export all products except prohibited items of exports in ITC (HS). Under the EOU scheme, the units are allowed to import or procure locally without payment of duty all types of goods including capital goods, raw materials, components, packing materials, consumables, spares and various other specified categories of equipments including material handling equipments, required for export production or in connection therewith. Even the goods appearing in the restricted list of the Foreign Trade Policy, 2009-14 are permitted to be imported. The Customs exemption notifications for import & related Central Excise exemption notification when the goods are procured from local manufacturing units, prescribe several conditions to be fulfilled by the beneficiaries keeping in view the objective of the Scheme and to prevent abuse. Working in Customs Bond is one of the essential prerequisite-there being few exceptions. They also provide various flexibilities in the matter of taking out the materials for job work, internet transfer. The EOUs are required to achieve the minimum NFEP (Net Foreign Exchange Earning as a Percentage of Exports) and the minimum EP (Export Performance) as per the provisions of EXIM Policy. The formula for calculation of NFEP is
A – B / A * 100
A = FOB value of Exports
B = Value of Imported Capital goods, raw materials and outgo of foreign exchange by way of Dividends, royalty, selling commission, foreign travel etc. The EOUs are licensed to manufacture goods within the bonded premises for the purpose of export. As per the policy, the period of bonding is initially for five years, which is extendable to another five years by the Development Commissioner. On completion of the bonding period, it is for the unit to decide whether to continue under, or to opt out, of the scheme. The imported capital goods are allowed to be warehoused for a period of 5 years. For other goods, the warehousing period is one year, which can be extended further by the Commissioner / Chief Commissioner of Customs. On an application being made by the unit, extension of the time limit is granted in all cases unless there is malafide and diversion of duty free materials. Along with above mentioned benefits there are many Incentives given by local governments and municipal...