Over 550 SEZs cleared across India, but Bihar yet to have one

Over 550 SEZs cleared across India, but Bihar yet to have one

New Delhi: At a time when the Central government has given final approval to 362 special economic zones that are expected to attract a total investment of Rs3,00,000 crore, the country’s poorest state — Bihar — is yet to come up with any SEZ proposal.

Bihar does not figure at all in the list of SEZs that have been given either formal or in-principle clearance by the Board of Approval. The Board has cleared a total of 550 proposals across 20 major states.

The 362 SEZs that have received formal nod are expected to attract investment of Rs3,00,000 crore and create jobs for 40 lakh people, according to estimates by the commerce ministry.

“There has not been any proposal from Bihar backed by the state government... it seems to be their conscious policy," a central government official said.

Bihar has remained an SEZ-free state as chief minister Nitish Kumar-led government is believed to have taken a decision to avoid any controversy due to land acquisition. Farmers in several states such as neighbouring Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have protested land acquisition for SEZs and other industrial activities.

Uttar Pradesh has also pressed the pause button on sending fresh proposals to the Centre, pending review of these projects by the new government led by chief minister Mayawati.

Ever since Mayawati took charge, she has stopped forwarding any applications, the official said.

As per the SEZ Rules, the Board of Approval cannot give formal clearance to any proposal unless the land has been acquired and it has the backing of the state government.