Cabinet decisions: Coastal areas in for a major facelift

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New Delhi | December 29, 2018 6:31 AM

Govt lifts freeze on urban FSI; move aligns with coastal eco zones project.

FSI is the ratio of a building’s gross floor area to the size of the piece of land upon which it is built.

The government has lifted a freeze on development of urban coastal lands, a move that could lead to a major facelift of these areas with renovated infrastructure, besides the setting up of employment-generating economic units and tourism facilities. According to a cabinet decision late Thursday, floor space index (FSI) and floor area ratio (FAR) would be allowed as per the current norms in the Coastal Regulation Zone-II (urban) areas, by lifting a freeze imposed in 2011 under Development Control Rules, 1991.

FSI is the ratio of a building’s gross floor area to the size of the piece of land upon which it is built.

The cabinet decision to relax the norms would enable redevelopment of sizeable tracts of land in CRZs to meet the emerging needs. The new policy also affords greater opportunities for development of densely populated rural areas in the CRZs.

“A need was felt overtime to undertake a comprehensive revision of the (2011 CRZ) notification on the basis of number of representations from various coastal states/ UTs, besides other stakeholders particularly related to the management and conservation of marine and coastal eco-systems, development in coastal areas, eco-tourism, livelihood options and sustainable development of coastal communities etc,” the government said.

The government’s decision to issue a new CRZ Notification 2018 with these changes is also in sync with the thrust being given to port-led industrialisation and the attendant Coastal Economic Zones projects.

As many as 224 projects worth Rs 1.85 lakh crore were awarded under the ambitious Sagarmala project by March 2018; of these, 196 projects worth Rs 71,868 lakh crore are expected to be awarded in 2018-19. Sources said 98 projects worth Rs 31,046 crore are likely to be completed in 2018-19. As many as 59 projects worth Rs 11,299 crore were completed till March 31, 2018.

In all, 14 CEZs covering all maritime states/UTs have been proposed and detailed master plans are being prepared for four pilot CEZs in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Apart from CEZs, port-based industrialisation consists of coastal tourism, logistics parks, warehousing and fisheries development.

The cabinet also approved listing of six public sector undertakings, including Telecommunication Consultants and RailTel and the follow on public offer of Kudremukh Iron Ore Company.

It also relaxed listing norms for CPSEs to beef up the pipeline of firms for disinvestment. According to the revised norms, CPSEs with a positive net worth and net profit in any of the immediately three preceding financial years shall be eligible for listing on the stock exchanges. The extant norm required CPSEs to have a positive net worth, no accumulated losses and having earned net profits in three preceding consecutive years.

Other companies which received approval on Friday for listing are: National Seed Corporation India, Tehri Hydro Development Corporation, Water & Power Consultancy Services and FCI Aravali Gypsum and Minerals.

While CEZs have broadly been modelled on similar ventures in China, India hasn’t had success comparable to the neighbour regarding such large industrial conclaves. While special economic zones (SEZs), which were hit hard by the twin-blow of a minimum alternate tax on developers and units and a dividend distribution tax on developers in 2011-12, seem to have recovered from the impact of the imposts in recent years, the National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZ), aimed at improving the share of manufacturing in GDP, haven’t really taken off.

Exports from SEZs jumped 11% in rupee term in 2017-18 to Rs 5,81,033 crore, higher than the 8.4% growth in the country’s total outbound shipments (both goods and services) in the domestic currency. However, while three NIMZs (outside the Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor region) have been accorded final approval, work on them is yet to be over.

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