Tisco Eyes Stake In Gopalpur SEZ

New Delhi, September 16: | Updated: Sep 17 2003, 05:30am hrs
The special economic zone (SEZ) scheme notified by the government more than two years ago is attracting big corporates. With a package of concessions built into the scheme, Tata Iron and Steel Company (Tisco) has shown interest as a joint venture partner in the SEZ being promoted by Orissa at Gopalpur.

The main promoter of the Gopalpur SEZ is Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation. Selection of a strategic developer for the SEZ is expected by the end of next month, say commerce ministry officials.

As regards the Paradeep SEZ, Orissa is considering the possibility of re-locating the unit at Duburi, about 125km from Paradeep Port for land has been acquired, officials say.

So far, 21 SEZs have been approved on the basis of proposals received from the statess/private promoters. Of these, the SEZs at Indore, Salt Lake (Kolkata) and Jaipur are ready for operation. Those at Navi Mumbai and Maha Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Hassan (Karnataka) and Jodhpur (Rajasthan) have made substantial progress and sizeable land area has also been acquired.

Total SEZ exports rose from Rs 8,552.30 crore during 2000-01 to Rs 9,189.55 crore during 2001-02. During the first nine months of the past fiscal exports from these zones were valued at Rs 7,548.33 crore.

Among the facilities available to SEZs include duty-free imports or procurement of goods for development, operation and maintenance, ECBs without any maturity restrictions through recognised banks. Besides, offshore banking units have been permitted in these zones. Developers of SEZ units have also been made eligible for income tax exemption for 10 years, income tax holiday for five years, 50 per cent tax exemption for two years and 50 per cent of re-invested profits earned for three years, and exemption from minimum area requirement of 1,000 hectare for port/airport-based SEZs.

As per the current policy, overseas banking units (OUBs) have also been exempted from the cash reserve ratio and statutory liquidity ratio stipulations. So far, three OBUs have been set up by State Bank of India, ICICI Bank and Bank of India at the Santa Cruz zone.

While foreign banks operating in the country will be discouraged from setting up OBUs in SEZs, no hitch is anticipated in permitting their subsidiaries if they are registered locally as a bank for the same purpose.