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Special Economic Zones Act, 2005

Preamble

An Act to provide for the establishment, development and management of the Special Economic Zones for the promotion of exports and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto

Be it enacted by Parliament in the Fifty-sixth Year of the Republic of India as follow:-

1.      Received the assent of the President on June 23, 2005 and published in the Gazette of India, Extra., Part II, Section 1

Prefatory Note-Statement of Objects and Reasons.-

The Government of India had announced a Special Economic Zone Scheme in April 2000 with a view to provide an internationally competitive environment for exports. The objectives of Special Economic Zones include making available goods and services free of taxes and duties supported by integrated infrastructure for export production, expeditious and single window approval mechanism and a package of incentives to attract foreign and domestic investments for promoting export-led growth.

2.      There are at present eleven functioning Special Economic Zones. While seven Zones have been set up by the Central Government, four by the private/joint/State sector. In addition, approvals have been given for setting up of thirty-five new Special Economic Zones in the private/joint/State sector.

3.      While the policy relating to the Special Economic Zones is contained in the Foreign Trade Policy, incentives and other facilities offered to the Special Economic Zone developer and units are implemented through various notifications and circulars issued by the concerned Ministries/Departments. The present system, therefore, does not lend enough confidence for investors to commit substantial funds for development of infrastructure and for setting up of the units in the Zones for export of goods and services. In order to give a long term and stable policy framework with minimum regulatory regime and to provide expeditious and single window clearance mechanism, a Central Act for Special Economic Zones has been found to be necessary in line with international practice. To achieve this purpose, a "Special Economic Zones Bill, 2005" is proposed. The salient features of the Bill are as under:-

              i.         matters relating to establishment of Special Economic Zone and for setting up of units therein, including requirements, obligations and entitlements;

             ii.         matters relating to requirements for setting up of off-shore banking units and units in International Financial Service Center in Special Economic Zone, including fiscal regime governing the operation of such units;

            iii.         the fiscal regime for developers of Special Economic Zones and units set up therein;

            iv.         single window clearance mechanism at the Zone level;

             v.         establishment of an Authority for each Special Economic Zone set up by the Central Government to impart greater administrative autonomy; and

            vi.         designation of special courts and single enforcement agency to ensure speedy trial and investigation of notified offences committed in Special Economic Zones.

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4.      The Bill seeks to achieve the aforesaid objects.



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