The first edition of the Global Economic Zones Expo & Convention 2019, at The Ashoka, New Delhi, saw industry leaders and government representatives discuss important topics and trends in areas such as infrastructure development, investments, incentives, etc., impacting the growth and functioning of Special Economic Zones in India. A Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is an area earmarked by the government to be developed as a specialised or multi-product manufacturing hub, predominantly for export purposes. SEZs are intended to facilitate rapid economic growth by leveraging incentives to attract both domestic and foreign investment and technological advancement.
During a session on ‘Revitalising India’s Economic Zones’, Ashish Mathur, MD, TATA Steel Special Economic Zones Ltd., said, “The concept of GEZ is needed if India wants to achieve the $5 trillion economy that we dream about. If we want to create more jobs, and an environment conducive to manufacturing, it is important for us to get these large industrial parks fully functional. When it comes to manufacturing, where the material and physical goods are to be brought in and taken out, there will be large-scale movement of people for which logistics will have to be maintained, all this is possible only when you have large industrial parks operational. That is why it is crucial for the government to place focus upon developing more SEZs in the country.”
In another session on ‘Promoting Investment and Trade in Economic Zones’, Dr. L.B. Singhal, Development Commissioner, Noida Special Economic Zone, said, “The objective of an SEZ, as given in Section 5 of the SEZ Act, 2005, is to increase exports, investment and employment in the country. If we see from these objective criteria, exports from SEZs in the year 2005 stood at Rs. 22,000 crore. From 2005 onwards, exports grew exponentially to Rs. 5,82,000 crore ($92 billion) in 2018. This year, up till March 23, total exports had already touched Rs. 6,85,000 crore ($97.8 billion), and it might be for the first time that we are close to $100 billion worth of exports from SEZs! Meanwhile, total investment in SEZs in 2005 stood at Rs. 4,000 crore, generating employment for 1,34,000 people. Today, this investment has gone up to more than Rs. 5,00,00 crore and has so far created employment for more than 2 million workforce.”
Other topics that were discussed included ‘Infrastructure for Successful Economic Zones’ and ‘Tax Incentives in Economic Zones’.
Speaking at the conference about the Chabahar project, Abhishek Chandra, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, Government of India, said, “Under the Sagarmala programme, we are doing development of the Chabahar port in Iran as a strategic linkage with Afghanistan and Central Asia. This project is will reap rich dividends to the investor and to the people who are taking the lead to invest in Iran, because the port in based in a free trade zone.”
The Global Economic Zones Expo & Convention 2019 is a three-day event aimed to serve as a platform for the industry based in SEZs to showcase their manufacturing capabilities and product lines to a multitude of investors and buyers. It is also an opportunity for the States to present infrastructure in place in such economic zones and to attract potential businesses to come and invest.
About Export Promotion Council for EOUs and SEZs (EPCES)
EPCES has been set up by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India, to service the export promotional needs of EOUs & SEZs in the country. It has a clear mandate to attract investment in SEZs (including FDI) and to market Indian SEZs abroad in order to attract units to SEZs. EPCES represents major industrial sectors, like textiles, garments & yarn, gem & jewellery, leather goods, food & agro products, electronics & software, pharmaceuticals & chemicals, engineering, minerals, granites & other stones, plastic & rubber goods, etc. EPCES is the only scheme-specific and multi-products exports promotion council.
About Wbf International Centre Services (WICS)
WICS Group offers country and industry-specific advisory and implementation services for business expansion. The company has an expert team of business leaders, technical specialists, and advisors with intimate experience of sovereign government operations, who provide valuable services to entrepreneurs in forging productive business partnerships in the domestic and overseas markets. WICS Group works with clients across a variety of business sectors and domains, including finance & insurance, energy & utilities, IT, telecom, media & entertainment, manufacturing, healthcare & pharmaceuticals, textiles & garments, consumer goods, etc.