States with sizeable contiguous land area may get nod on guarantee they will meet 50-sq-km condition
Instead of the stipulated minimum threshold of 50 sq km (5,000 hectares), states may be allowed to start National Manufacturing and Investment Zones (NMIZs) if they are in possession of a sizeable area of contiguous land, say 12.5 sq km (1,250 hectares) or above and give an assurance that the 50-sq-km criterion will be met within a given period, official sources told FE.
The relaxation will be announced in the form of a circular after an inter-ministerial committee comprising three ministries — finance, commerce and industry, and MSME — meet in New Delhi on Tuesday.
The idea is to help the states that have got in-principle approval for setting up NMIZs to start work on these projects as soon as possible. NMIZs, touted to be much bigger industrial and investment conclaves than special economic zones (SEZs), are at the heart of the Modi government’s ‘Make In India’ and ‘Skill India’ initiatives, and are expected to generate millions of jobs.
The temporary relaxation of the minimum-area criterion is expected to immediately benefit seven NIMZs proposed by Andhra Pradesh (Chittoor and Prakasam), Karnataka (Tumkur, Kolar, Gulbarga and Bidar) and Telangana (Medak).
Land parcels acquired by the states for these projects are currently below the 50-sq-km threshold but the states are keen to start the projects and investments have been tied up. According to the sources, the minimum level of 12.5 sq km of land for NMIZs should preferably be in the middle of the proposed 50-sq-km area so that further land can be acquired around it later to meet the norm.
Since the threshold was set by the cabinet, a relaxation would require its consent, but since what is proposed to be given is a temporary leeway that is subject to the condition that the states commit to enhance the area to the prescribed level in a specified period of time, the inter-ministerial could grant it, the sources said. The Nagpur NIMZ in Maharashtra has an in-principle approval but that may not be considered at Tuesday’s meeting for final approval.
According to the NIMZ concept, part of the National Manufacturing Policy (or NMP, which was notified in November 2011), the Centre and states will work together to create these zones where infrastructure will be developed on a public-private partnership basis. These zones are aimed at “catalysing” the country’s manufacturing growth by setting up greenfield industrial smart cities that were to be then “benchmarked” with the world’s best manufacturing hubs. The NMP’s goal is to take the share of manufacturing in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) from around 17% currently to 25% by 2022, and in the process create an additional 100 million jobs.
Among the many NMIZ projects, which have received the Centre’s in-principle approval, most have received big investment commitments. For instance, the Medak NIMZ aims to attract R43,000 crore investments and targets generation of 3.2 lakh direct and 4.5 lakh indirect jobs within seven years of the development of the zone.
The NIMZ guidelines also specify that a minimum of 30% of the total proposed land area should be used to set up manufacturing units.
States including Tamil Nadu, Odisha and Kerala (Kochi-Palakkad) have also forwarded proposals to set up NIMZs to the Centre. In addition to these, the Centre has granted in-principle approval to eight Investment Regions under the first phase of the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project to be set up as NIMZs. These include Shendra-Bidkin Industrial Park city near Aurangabad and Dighi Port Industrial Area (both in Maharashtra); Ahmedabad-Dholera Investment Region (Gujarat); Dadri-Noida-Ghaziabad Investment Region (Uttar Pradesh); Manesar-Bawal (Haryana); Pithampur-Dhar-Mhow (Madhya Pradesh); and Jodhpur-Pali-Marwar and Khushkhera-Bhiwadi-Neemrana (both in Rajasthan).
Besides, Uttar Pradesh has forwarded to the Centre two more NIMZ proposals (in Auraiya and Jhansi), while Gujarat has sent one NIMZ proposal (Mandal-Bencharaji) to be set up outside the DMIC region.
* Minimum land threshold of 50 sq km for NMIZ approved by cabinet
* Inter-ministerial panel to allow seven NMIZs to start work provided at least 12 sq km of contiguous land is in their possession for each zone
* States to commit to increase the area to 50 sq km in a specified period
* With this relaxation, panel to give final approval for these NMIZs proposals from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana