The government hopes to come out with new guidelines to revive Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in three to four weeks, Commerce Secretary SR Rao said Thursday.
“We are now trying to harmonise the current (SEZ) policy and rules that have not served the purpose and trying to remove irritants to investors,” Rao said.
“And (we are) also trying to bring in some more rules where government finds that the revenue sources are leaking. So we are trying to broadbase all these things, remove transaction cost both for the government and the investors,” he said.
The initial phase of the SEZ scheme, launched in 2006, saw developers coming out in huge numbers for projects. But after the imposition of Minimum Alternative Tax and Dividend Distribution Tax on SEZs in 2010-11, investors started losing interest as tax incentives were the major attraction for setting up of these enclaves.
To boost investors’ confidence, the commerce ministry plans to provide incentives for developers who want to set up SEZs in remote and undeveloped areas. It has proposed to relax minimum land area requirement for different categories of SEZs, besides extending to the units the benefits of export schemes already available to entities outside the zone.
Asked when the government would come out with new norms and revise the existing policy, the commerce secretary said: “In another three to four weeks hopefully.”