No relaxation of land rules for SEZs: Nath

No relaxation of land rules for SEZs: Nath

Within a fortnight of commerce secretary G.K. Pillai talking about a possible relaxation of cap on land size for special economic zones, or SEZs, commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath on Tuesday said there was no proposal to change the 5,000 hectare (ha) ceiling prescribed by an empowered group of ministers (eGoM).

“The government is not considering any proposal to relax the 5,000ha cap on land size for SEZs," Nath told reporters on the sidelines of the TiE Entrepreneurial Summit here.

However, the Union government would look into specific proposals from states once the resettlement and rehabilitation (RR) policy is implemented, he said. “There cannot be a one-size-fits-all policy for all the states," he said. The commerce ministry was examining these issues, Nath said.

He said the much-delayed review of foreign direct investment was likely to come up before the Cabinet next week. As regards demand for further relief for the exporters hit by rupee’s rise, the commerce minister said: “The matter is being examined by the Prime Minister."

He said there has to be complete remission of duty. “It has to be ensured that no taxes are exported and exporters have a level playing field," he said.

The commerce secretary had stated on 2 December that the government may relax the 5,000ha ceiling on land for multi-product SEZs once amendments in the Land Acquisition Act along with the RR policy was passed by Parliament. The rural development ministry introduced the twin bills in the Lok Sabha in the just-concluded winter session of Parliament.

The eGoM, headed by external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, had in April this year capped the maximum area for a multi-product SEZ at 5,000ha.

The ceiling forced Reliance Industries Ltd and real estate firms DLF Ltd and Omaxe Ltd to cut the size of their mega SEZs to 5,000ha. While Reliance Industries had plans to set up two 10,000ha zones in Haryana and Maharashtra, DLF was looking at an 8,000ha zone in Gurgaon and Omaxe 6,070ha zone in Alwar in Rajasthan.