Assessment of the
Potential Costs and Benefits of Special Economic Zones in India
New Delhi, India, May 03, 2007
organised the fifth meeting of PARFORE at Council for Social
Development (CSD), in New Delhi that discussed an important
issue entitled ?Assessment of the Potential Costs and Benefits
of Special Economic Zones in India?. Dr P C Alexander chaired
the discussion. Initiating the discussion, Pradeep S Mehta
introduced the subject and referred to a study on that, recently
undertaken by CUTS.
expressed their views on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and
cautioned that concerns of various stakeholders must be
adequately addressed before any land acquisition takes place.
Majority of Parliamentarians called for a revamp of SEZs policy
to ensure inclusive growth and peace in the country.
Chairing the meet,
Dr Alexander remarked that small and medium-sized enterprises
(SMEs) should be given enough space in these SEZs as they are
generating more employment and tax revenue. He argued that the
social impacts of land acquisition should be adequately
the large size SEZ with 50 percent (earlier 65 percent) of
non-processing area and perpetual ownership of such lands in the
hands of developers, Santosh Bagrodia said that it would lead to
rebirth of ?Zamindari? system in the country. He was opposed to
granting large-scale tax benefits to the industrial units
established in SEZs as it could lead to tax revenue loss without
giving rise to adequate employment and export generation.
Commenting on the
issue, Dinesh Trivedi emphasised that prosperity can take place
only when there is peace. There should not be any land grabbing
and forceful evacuation of farmers from their lands, not even by
the State Government. While supporting the SEZ policy Trivedi
advocated for farmers to be made partners in progress.
Rahul Bajaj, Member,
Rajya Sabha advocated for a balanced regional development
through dispersal of industries across the length and breadth of
the country. He said that SMEs be given adequate attention. To
avoid the risk of conversion of SEZs into real estate business
Bajaj strongly argued for having at least 75 percent, if not 90
percent of the total area of SEZs as processing one.
Sharad Joshi pointed
out that though farmers love their land they are ready to sell
it in today?s changed scenario for their own betterment.
Moreover, to protect the interest of the farmers land should be
acquired through competitive bidding, Joshi added.
M V Rajasekharan
said that food security be given the top most priority as even a
miniscule drop in the food production could affect the people.
He felt that the SEZ Act in its present form cannot be accepted
and should be redrafted to prevent agriculture land being
acquired for SEZs. He also referred to Mahatma Gandhi? approach
of ?there go my people and I follow them?, thus putting the
people in the centre of everything that the Government does.
Gireesh Kumar Sanghi,
Member, Rajya Sabha, while stressing the need for SEZs in the
progress of the country, pointed out that due to SEZs farmers
are receiving the right price for their land. He was of the
opinion that land should be acquired with consensus, not force.