SEZ (Special Economic Zone) is an area which is aimed at increasing investments. Companies that base their operations in such areas are eligible for tax and other such incentives. The SEZ are created with the larger aim of triggering foreign and domestic investments for generation of more employment and infrastructure besides direct increase in productivity.
The main objectives of the SEZ are;
- generation of additional economic activity
- promotion of exports of goods and services;
- promotion of investment from domestic and foreign sources;
- creation of employment opportunities;
- development of infrastructure facilities;
There are currently 585 approved and 133 operational SEZ’s in India. The green guidelines for SEZ are a bold and noteworthy step that can transform these important investment units. The guidelines have been questioned and criticized by some sections of industry who feel it will be expensive and might actually discourage the SEZ industry. The guidelines can provide a huge upthrust for the use of renewable energy in the SEZ’s, fiscal incentives can neutralize the increased project costs.
The green guidelines for SEZ’s will cover not only the entire SEZ but individual buildings as well. The compliance of the guidelines can be checked and certified by organization like TERI, IGBC and other national and international agencies.
These green guidelines aim at optimization of;
|Site Preservation and Restoration|
|Local Internal Transportation|
|Ventilation and Day- Lighting|
A glance through each of these guidelines shows that none of them are extremely tough or difficult to put into operation; all technologies are available in India; in fact it might even be said that the incorporation of such guidelines will in fact be beneficial to the SEZ industry. As with any new guideline or rule, the industry is not likely to meet it with optimism. To ensure smoother transition, the government might even consider making such norms voluntary and remove any constraints that arise when operational before making them mandatory.
Recent reports in the media suggest that these guidelines may be scrapped because of the high costs involved and the reluctance of the industry to incorporate them, if such be the case, then it will indeed be a sad day.
The SEZ industry is no doubt an important player in the progress of a country, let it set the benchmark for sustainable progress as well.
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Article by Mr. Puskar Pande