Plans are afoot in the Union Government to include Kerala in the priority list of States granted relaxation in their areas for setting up Special Economic Zones (SEZs). In its efforts to generate exports and employment in the area, the State Government has reportedly requested the Union Commerce and Industry Ministry for such a status.
Of late, the State is currently going all out to create more and more multi-product category of Special Economic Zones as they open up umpteen employment opportunities to majority of masses. In this connection, the State Government had sent a letter to the Commerce Ministry and had cited the prevailing global financial crisis as one of the reasons behind seeking the coveted status. In the absence of relaxation available under the SEZ category more and more developers were finding it tough and economically unviable to develop SEZ projects over huge tracks of land available in the State.
Kerala currently has received 24 formal approvals of which 15 are notified SEZs while five are operational spread across 618.31 hectares. After initial indifference the Left ruled State faced huge criticism over the developments of tax free zones and has finally introduced the SEZ Policy in 2008 stipulating that 70 per cent of the SEZ land should be utilized for industrial purposes.
Currently, States including Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir and all the Union Territories enjoy this coveted status. As per the SEZ norms in Kerala the minimum area needed for a multi-product SEZ is 200 hectares, as against 1,000 hectares required by other States. In the case of service SEZs, 50 hectares of land is needed by special category States as against 100 hectares by others. But for all other types of SEZs including IT/gems and jewelry, the minimum requirement of 10 hectares remains mandatory.
Source: NBM Media