Imported Mercedes Benz cars are seen next to containers at Tianjin Port, in northern China February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee - RTS100D8
Setting up of coastal economic zones (CEZ) along the Indian coastline is set to become easier as Centre is planning to put in place a policy to govern their establishment and to address concerns of investors.
“For CEZs, we are in the process of finalising a policy on how these zones should come up,” a senior government official from Shipping Ministry told Moneycontrol on condition of anonymity.
He said that out of the 14 CEZs that are to be set up under Sagarmala, Centre is initially targeting setting up of two zones, one each on eastern and western coast.
Modi government, in 2015, started a two-decade long programme Sagarmala, to give push to India’s blue economy. Envisaged to exploit 7,500 kilometer long coastline of the country, Centre launched a four-pronged programme focusing on port development and modernisation, port connectivity, port-led industrialisation and development of coastal community development.
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The Rs. eight lakh crore programme has a total of 415 projects under its ambit, to be completed by 2035, and aims to reduce logistics cost for transporting bulk commodities, improving export competitiveness and optimising time/cost of export-import container movement.
The policy is expected to come out during the current financial year and focuses on areas like land acquisition, incentives to investors, issues related to port connectivity and so on.
“The objective of the policy is that how state governments will fund land or provide land for these projects…? What type of industries will come up…? What type of incentives are to be given to prospective investors…?” said the official, overseeing Sagarmala.
Rephrasing CEZ as coastal employment zones rather than coastal economic zones, the official said that target of the government now stands to generate employment and ease out setting up of industries along the Indian coastline.
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“The framework like, how the land will come… what will be the incentives given to investors… who will be allowed to set up industries… what type of industries can be set up… how much area has to be identified… who will develop the infrastructure there… issues related to port and CEZ connectivity are under finalization,” he said.
As per the plan drew up by Centre, a total of 23 projects, worth Rs 4,216 crore, relate to coastal community development that are to be completed by 2035. Of these, 14 will be for development of CEZ.
The government has identified key industries such as electronics, apparel, furniture, leather, automotive, food processing, steel, cement and power among others that have potential to generate 40 lakh direct and 60 lakh indirect job opportunities.