SEZ review not to hurt industry: Sitharaman

New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) The Indian government has no role in allotting land for special economic zones (SEZ) and the periodic review of SEZ policy will not hurt the industry, the Lok Sabha was told on Monday.

“Land being a state subject, it is for the states to take a call on land allotment for SEZ. The Centre does not allot land at all,” Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said during Question Hour.

Answering supplementaries from members like Saugata Roy from the Trinamool Congress and BJP member Kirit Somaiya, Sitharaman said: “Review of SEZ policy is like any normal review of government policies. Review does not mean either SEZ will be discontinued or continued in future.”

She said that “the fact remains”, nothing will be done that will “hurt the industry”.

Responding to a question from AIADMK member K. Kamaraj, the minister said: “The government, on the basis of inputs and suggestions received from stakeholders on the policy and operational framework of SEZ scheme periodically reviews the policy and the operational framework of SEZs.”

This helps to take necessary measures so as to facilitate speedy and effective implementation of the SEZ policy, Sitharaman said.

Earlier, Saugata Roy said that the issue of land acquisition remains an issue in West Bengal and the state government, therefore, does not allow any land for SEZ.

“I want to know whether the government plans to do away with the SEZ,” he asked.

Roy said the SEZ policy, as laid down in 2007, says no fertile land can be acquired for SEZ. “Only barren and infertile land can be acquired,” she added.

She, however, said that at times, single crop land can be acquired for setting up SEZ.



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