The government plans to further liberalise the norms for Special Economic Zones (SEZs) with an aim to catalyse the manufacturing sector.
Minister of state for commerce and industry and finance Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday that her ministry is working on dual use of SEZ land to help developers earn faster returns while restoring some of the benefits.
The commerce ministry is also pursuing modification of minimum alternate tax (MAT) and dividend distribution tax (DDT) that has halted further investment in SEZs as promoters do not find them lucrative.
“Extensive review of special economic zones for re-energising manufacturing-led exports (is going on). Governance reforms in SEZs include decisions on modification of MAT and DDT and the dual use of infrastructure in non-processing areas, these proposals are in active consideration,” she said.
The commerce minister also said the her ministry is aiming at digitisation of procedures, and standardisation of rules and formats for SEZs to revive the sector, which saw exports worth Rs 4,94,077 crore in 2013-14.
In the first quarter of 2014-15, exports stood at Rs 1,21,637 crore, up 7.36 per cent during the corresponding year ago period.
Commenting on imposition of anti-dumping duty on solar panels, the minister said that India has decided not to impose the same on imports of solar panels from countries like the US and China.
Domestic power firms have been lobbying against the imposition as it would lead to rise in equipment cost. On reducing the import duty on gold with the current account deficit narrowing, Sitharaman said that there was no “immediate plan” to lower the duty which was raised to 10 per cent last year in phases to rein in the spurt in CAD.
As regard to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to the US on September 29-30, the commerce minister said that Indian will take up issues including visa restrictions, movement of professionals and greater market access with the US.
…Xi’s visit to mark ‘directional change’ in India-China ties
NEW DELHI: The visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to India next week is expected to bring about a “directional change” in the bilateral relationship, and will see announcements regarding setting up of industrial parks by China, commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.
She said, “This visit will bring a directional change to the relations between India and China in the last 60 years…. We think during this visit some announcement will be made pursuant to which China will move forward in setting up industrial parks in India”.
The Chinese president will begin his three-day visit to India on September 17 from Ahmedabad. China is expected to announce investments worth $7 billion in setting up two industrial parks in Gujarat and Maharashtra. ENS