The commerce ministry has given more time to special economic zone developer Navi Mumbai SEZ, which has planned eight projects in Maharashtra. These SEZ projects are facing certain operational and regulatory issues in the state. The Maharashtra government had sought more time from the Board of Approval (BoA), headed by Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia, to resolve all the issues faced by Navi Mumbai SEZ Ltd (NMSEZ).
The BoA, highest decision making body on SEZ related issues, in its meeting on September 18 “approved extension” of validity of formal approval for setting up eight SEZs by NMSEZ for further period of “three months,” according to the minutes of the meeting of BoA. Earlier, the developer — Navi Mumbai SEZ Ltd — had intimated the board that it has not been able to operationalise the proposed SEZs because the Maharashtra government did not enact the state SEZ Act.
In absence of the legislation, entrepreneurs were not willing to set up units in the zones. Development Commissioner of Navi Mumbai SEZ had stated that the state government, City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) and NMSEZ are in the process of resolving operational and regulatory issues.
CIDCO had said the matter is now referred to Advocate General of the state to seek his legal advice on issues, which may take some more time. The developer has planned eight SEZs. Out of this, six zones got formal approval from the BoA in 2007, while the remaining two were approved in 2009. As the issue has been pending since 2015, the board had decided to give the Maharashtra government time till August 30 to resolve the issues with the developer.
The eight zones are from IT/ITeS (4), multi-services (2), multi-product (1), gems and jewellery (1) sectors. An SEZ area is considered to be a foreign territory for trade operations and duties. They are developed as export hubs. Exports from SEZs grew nearly 12 per cent to Rs 5.24 lakh crore in 2016-17.