Conducting inter-departmental discussions to address SEZ's woes: Prabhu
Ahmad Shariq Khan
Lauding the work of SEZ/EoU fraternity in shoring up India’s exports, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday assured the sector’s stakeholders that the Government is looking into their concerns, particularly those relating to imposition of alternate minimum tax (MAT), dividend distribution tax (DDT) and introduction of the sunset clause.
“Leaving aside some complaints about the misuse of the SEZ policy, the Government still believes that the idea of SEZ holds good for the Indian economy. Therefore, we are conducting interdepartmental discussions with respective ministries, including finance ministry, on how to best to ease the tax pressure on the SEZs/EOUs,” Prabhu said while speaking at Export Awards organised by Export Promotion Council for EOUs & SEZs (EPCES) in New Delhi.
Urging the Government to consider the restoration of the original SEZ Act, Officiating Chairman of EPCES Vinay Sharma said, “The Union Budget has absolutely nothing important for the SEZs and it fails to suitably address the key issues affecting the sector. Going forward, the sector would be anxiously waiting to hear some good news on this front.”
SEZs, which emerged as major export hubs in the country, are said to have started losing sheen after the imposition of minimum alternate tax, DDT and introduction of the sunset clause.
Speaking on occasion, C.R. Chaudhary, Minister of State for Commerce, said, “To remain relevant and upbeat amid a gloomy global business environ, Indian SEZs need to explore markets beyond their traditional destinations, and should ideally tap those in the Caribbean and the African continent.”
EPCES further said that the council would soon introduce a nationwide skill development and enhancement initiative for its above 18 lakh strong workforce.
Elaborating on the ambitious scheme, Sharma said, “Currently SEZs and EOUs are a source of direct employment to 18,23,451 persons (as on September 2017), and extending the same spirit, this path-breaking scheme would address the sector’s long felt issue of under-skilling through imparting skills in the area of skills upgradation and technical know-how of its employees.”
Lauding the scheme, Prabhu said, “I am hopeful that this unique scheme would surely go a long way in not just strengthening the knowledge base of SEZ and EOU workforce but also in enhancing their overall competitiveness. I congratulate EPCES for this endeavour, this was much needed.”