Rajya Sabha passes bill to amend Special Economic Zones law

The Rajya Sabha on June 27 cleared the Special Economic Zones (Amendment) Bill, 2019, that seeks to allow trusts to set up units in special economic zones, a day after the Lok Sabha passed the measure.

The Bill will replace the Special Economic Zones (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, promulgated in March.

The Opposition parties had criticised the government for issuing the ordinance, which allowed trusts to open units in the SEZs, just days before the general election was announced.

Replying to the debate, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said the government had issued the ordinance because of the continuous disruption in Parliament.

“This is a small amendment that has a large impact on investment, job and growth,” he said.

“Until now, We have eight proposals from such trusts. The total investment proposed by these trusts comes to ₹8,000 crore,” Mr. Goyal said. The government expected $3 billion, or ₹20,000 crore, in investments.

The Bill will replace the ordinance promulgated in February 2019. The ordinance seeks to amend the definition of a person under the SEZ Act 2005, which will enable a trust to be considered for grant of permission to set up a unit.
Exports from SEZs rose 21% on year to Rs 7 lakh crore in FY19. As of March 31, there were 232 SEZs, of which 25 are multiproduct and the rest are sector specific, with 5,109 approved units.

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