Commerce Min amends norms to prevent misuse of SEZ land

Commerce Min amends norms to prevent misuse of SEZ land

Developers seeking to surrender Special Economic Zones will have to give an undertaking that the land will be used in accordance with the recently amended guidelines so as to prevent its misuse.

Only those applications will be considered for SEZ denotification that fulfil three criteria laid down by the government, the Commerce Ministry has said.

As per the amended SEZ rules, "All such proposals (for denotification) must have an unambiguous 'No Objection Certificate' from state government concerned. Such land parcels after denotification will conform to Land Use guidelines/master plans of the respective state governments."

State governments may also ensure that such denotified parcels of land would be utilised towards creation of infrastructure which would subserve the objective of the SEZ as originally envisaged, according to the rules.

"These conditions are in addition with the Board of Approval may impose including refund of duties/benefits which the developer may have availed on the land de-notified, preservation of contiguity of the remaining parcel of SEZ land," the ministry has said.

Once an attraction for investors, SEZs have lost sheen after the imposition of Minimum Alternate Tax, Dividend Distribution Tax in 2011 and certain provisions in the proposed Direct Tax Code regime as well as global demand slowdown.

As many as 58 SEZ developers had surrendered their projects due to various reasons including global economic slowdown, till July 31 this year.

The government has formally approved 576 such zones out of which 173 have commenced exports.

During April-June, exports from these zones stood at USD Rs 1.13 lakh crore. During the quarter, the country's overall exports aggregated to Rs 4.05 lakh crore.

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