New Delhi: The government has cancelled approvals of 22 special economic zones (SEZs), including that of Tamilnadu Industrial Development Corporation and True Developers, as no “satisfactory" progress was made to execute the projects.
The decision was taken in the meeting of the board of approval (BoA) headed by commerce secretary Rajeev Kher on 19 May. “The Board examined the 22 cases of the agenda for cancellation of formal approval/notification. The Board noted that the progress made by the developer is not satisfactory. “After deliberations, the Board decided to cancel the formal approval/notification, as the case may be... ," the commerce ministry said.
However, it said the developers have to submit a certificate which will certify that they have not availed any tax/duty benefits including service tax exemptions or if availed under SEZ Act/Rules have refunded such benefits.
Tamilnadu Industrial Development Corporation Ltd had proposed to set up a multi-product zone in Tamil Nadu and True Developers too has plans to set up IT/ITeS zone in the same state. Of 22 SEZs, 19 are from IT/ITeS sector, while other sectors include multi-product, engineering, hardware and software.
In February, the government had cancelled 56 tax free enclaves.
The BoA has also granted more time to as many as 27 SEZ developers to implement their projects. The developers which have got more time includes Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board, Gulf Oil Corporation, Vedanta Aluminium Ltd, Kandla Port Trust and Navi Mumbai SEZ Pvt Ltd.
SEZs, which emerged as a major export hub in the country, started loosing sheen after imposition of minimum alternate tax (MAT) and dividend distribution tax (DDT). Industry has sought a reduction or removal of these taxes to boost investments.
Exports from these zones increased from ₹ 22,840 crore in 2005-06 to ₹ 4.94 lakh crore in 2013-14. The commerce ministry is struggling to increase exports as the country’s shipments in the last three years have been hovering around $300 billion.