Government is planning to create coastal economic zones along the country's 7,500-km long coastline covering many states, ports and special economic zones having uniform policy to further boost manufacturing. "There is a thinking in the government that there should be a port-led development as was done in China where cities were granted special status of open coastal cities. These cities enjoyed special policies of the government," a senior official told PTI.
Tough India has many ports, there is no cluster or a section of coastline that enjoys special status and incentives. However, there are special economic zones where investors can set up their manufacturing base and get incentives like tax exemption, speedy regulatory clearance, round the clock power and security. "SEZ's have made a difference, but we want to create coastal economic zones where investor will be provided host of incentives and facilities uniformly across many town, cities, ports and states," the official said.
Elaborating further he said: "Like in China, these zones would attract investment as well as workforce to create facilities to manufacture not only for domestic production but for exports in large quantities. That is what China did." The idea is, however, at the conceptual stage. After firming up the proposal, the ambitious plan could be announced by the Prime Minister himself like in the case of 'Make in India', the official said.
In the present scenario, these coastal economic zones could come up in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The official said: "India has not exploited its potential and capacity to manufacture and export world over. The country has required workforce and ports.
Once the proposal firms up then investment is not a big issue."