SEZs to use just 0.1% of total farm land: govt

New Delhi, Mar 30 | Updated: Mar 31 2007, 05:30am hrs
The special economic zones cleared so far will use just 0.1% of Indias total farm land, says the government. The country has a total 15,34,166 sq km of agriculture land and the 396 approved SEZs will occupy just 1,750 sq km.

Of the total land mass, the SEZ territory works out to just 0.06%. The total land area of India is 29,73,190 sq km, according to government data.

To allay fears that fertile land will be used for setting up SEZs imperiling farmers, the government makes a comparison with the Hainan project in China. This SEZ is spread over 34,000 sq km. The Shenzen SEZ has come up over 327 sq km and the Xiamen SEZ occupies 131 sq km.

The Centre has been put to sword by various quarters which allege that agriculture land is being acquired for SEZs. With this data, the government hopes to drive home its point that the impact of SEZs on the countrys farm land will be negligible.The total area for the 234 SEZs having formal approval is 350 sq km (including 67 sq km for the 63 notified SEZs), while the total land area proposed to be used for 162 SEZs with approval in principle (where land is yet to be acquired) is 1,400 sq km, according to the commerce ministry. The total agriculture land is 51.6% of the countrys total land area and the total non-agriculture area is 14,39,204 sq km.

The ministry says, of the 350 sq km to be used by the 234 SEZs with formal approvals, around 178 sq km are already with State Industrial Development Corporations.

Rare Earth

The country has a total
15,34,166 sq km of agriculture land and the 396 approved SEZs will occupy just 1,750 sq km
Of the total land mass, the SEZ territory works out to just 0.06%. The total land area of India is 29,73,190 sq km

Currently, 1,016 businesses are operating out of SEZs, providing direct employment to more than 1.79 lakh people, of which about 40% are women, says the government. In the 63 notified SEZs set up after February 2006, investments worth Rs 13,435 crore have been made and 18,457 people directly.

The commerce ministry projects that by December 2009, the 63 notified SEZs will draw investments worth Rs 53,561 crore and provide employment to 15,75,452 more people. If the 234 SEZs with formal approvals become operational, they will bring in investments worth Rs 3,00,000 crore and create an additional 4 million jobs.

The ministry says, of the 234 formal approvals, 80 were for SEZs in sectors like textiles & apparels, leather footwear, automobile components and engineering, involving labour-intensive manufacturing. In 2005-2006, the total exports from SEZs that are already operating were $5.078 billion -- a 24.71% growth over the previous years $4 billion.

The government projects that exports by the 19 old SEZs and the 63 newly notified ones in 2007-08 will be worth Rs 67,300 crore and the figure will cross Rs 100,000-crore mark by 2008-09.