State govt seeks time from centre for addressing NMSEZ regulatory issues

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The Maharashtra government has sought more time from the Centre to resolve all operational and regulatory issues facing Navi Mumbai SEZ Ltd (NMSEZ), the commerce ministry has said.

The Board of Approval (BoA), under the ministry, will consider the request of the Maharashtra government in its meeting on Monday.

The inter-ministerial board is the highest decision making body of the Centre on issues related to special economic zones (SEZs).

The state’s request assumes significance as the BoA at its last meeting in July has asked the state government to resolve all operational and regulatory issues concerning NMSEZ by August 30, failing which it would be de-notified.

Development Commissioner of Navi Mumbai SEZ has stated that the state government, City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) and NMSEZ are in the process of resolving certain operational and regulatory issues.

CIDCO 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.

“Therefore, the government of Maharashtra has requested that the BoA is requested to consider one more deferment of three months…,” the agenda note of the board said.

This request “is placed before the BoA for consideration,” it added.

Earlier, the developer — Navi Mumbai SEZ Ltd — had intimated to 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, it said.

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 after deliberations had decided to give the Government of Maharashtra 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.