New Delhi: Despite pressure from the Left, the Government made it clear on 12 March it has no plans to amend the Special Economic Zone Act saying it is “working well”.
Replying to supplementaries to a host of questions on SEZs in Rajya Sabha, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said special economic zones have become important engines of economic growth.
“At the moment, there is no proposal to amend the SEZ Act. It has worked well, it is working well. It is providing growth in employment and is one of the important engines of economy,” he said.
The Minister’s reply triggered angry reactions from Left, BJP and some Congress members, who claimed that SEZs have become real estate business as norms are being violated and sought a special discussion on the matter.
Amidst the din, Nath said the Government will look into specific instances of “misuse or abuse” of the Act if pointed out, but that assurance did not cool down the tempers after which chairman Hamid Ansari had to intervene.
The Chairman agreed to allow a special discussion on the matter as demanded by CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury and asked members to inform the minister about specific cases of violation of SEZ norms.
Several members claimed that cinema halls and amusement parks are coming up in SEZs in violation of norms and in the pretext of setting up such zones land is being grabbed.
“SEZ Act is passed by the House and it is not a policy. If there is misuse or abuse, we will be very happy to look into it if specific cases are pointed out,” Nath said responding to the concerns of members.