Present scenario of SEZ in India
India was one of the first countries in Asia to recognize the effectiveness of the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) model in promoting exports, with Asia's first EPZ set up in Kandla in 1965. In order to overcome the shortcomings experienced on account of the multiplicity of controls and clearances; absence of world-class infrastructure, and an unstable fiscal regime and with a view to attract larger foreign investments in India, the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) Policy was announced in April 2000. The SEZ Act, 2005, was an important bill to be passed by the Government of India in order to instill confidence in investors and signal the Government's commitment to a stable SEZ policy regime and with a view to impart stability to the SEZ regime thereby generating greater economic activity and employment through their establishment, a comprehensive draft SEZ Bill prepared after extensive discussions with the stakeholders. A number of meetings were held in various parts of the country both by the Minister for Commerce and Industry as well as senior officials for this purpose. The Special Economic Zones Act, 2005, was passed by Parliament in May, 2005 which received Presidential assent on the 23rd of June, 2005. The draft SEZ Rules were widely discussed and put on the website of the Department of Commerce offering suggestions/comments. Around 800 suggestions were received on the draft rules. After extensive consultations, the SEZ Act, 2005, supported by SEZ Rules, came into effect on 10 February 2006, providing for drastic simplification of procedures and for single window clearance on matters relating to central as well as state governments. The remaining part of India, not covered by the SEZ Rules, is known as the Domestic tariff area. Exports from Indian SEZ totalled INR 2.2 Trillion in 2009-10 fiscal. It grew by a stupendous 43% to reach INR 3.16 Trillion in 2010-11 fiscal. Indian SEZs have created over 840,000 jobs as of 2010-11. Despite all odds, exports through Indian SEZs grew further by 15.4% to reach INR 3.64 Trillion (roughly US$ 66 billion). As of 2011-12 fiscal, investments worth over US$ 36.5 billion (INR 2.02 Trillion) have been made in these tax-free enclaves. Exports of Indian SEZs have experienced a phenomenal growth of 50.5% for the past eight fiscals from a meager US$ 2.5 billion in 2003-04 to about US$ 65 billion in 2011-12 (accounting for 23% of India's total exports). The objectives of SEZs can be clearly explained as the following:- (a) Generation of additional economic activity; (b) Promotion of exports of goods and services; (c) Promotion of investment from domestic and foreign sources; (d) Creation of employment opportunities; (e) Development of infrastructure facilities. The major incentives and facilities available to SEZ developers include:- * Exemption from customs/excise duties for development of SEZs for authorized operations approved by the BOA. * Income Tax exemption on income derived from the business of development of the SEZ in a block of 10 years in 15 years under Section 80-IAB of the Income Tax Act. * Exemption from minimum alternate tax under Section 115 JB of the Income Tax Act. * Exemption from dividend distribution tax under Section 115O of the Income Tax Act. * Exemption from Central Sales Tax (CST).
* Exemption from Service Tax (Section 7, 26 and Second Schedule of the SEZ Act). Currently, there are about 143 SEZs (as of June 2012) operating throughout India and an additional 634 SEZs (as of June 2012) that have been formally/principally approved by the Government of India: State/Union Territory| Number of operational Special Economic Zones (June 2012)| Number of SEZs formally approved (June 2012)| Total (Operational + Approved)| Andhra Pradesh| 36| 116| 152|
Tamil Nadu| 28| 77| 105|
Karnataka| 20| 62| 82|
Maharashtra| 18| 119| 137...