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Improved connectivity to EZs will accelerate India’s growth pace

India’s growth pace will further accelerate once in place is infrastructural wherewithal for seamless connectivity to various economic zones (EZs). It is also the need of the hour as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is striving to make India a $ 5 trillion economy by 2025. Ergo, the National Master Plan (NMP) for improving connectivity to EZs is a move in the right direction. An economy of India’s size and diversity must be armed with infra prowess to absorb any unprecedented shocks like the recent one caused by Covid-19 pandemic when the movement of essential services, items and people had become so important. India’s improved network of national and state highways proved a blessing in disguise as the country mounted a wholesome attack on the coronavirus. It was, perhaps, one of the reasons that India was far better placed than many other countries in the world in its fight against Covid-19 and saved its economy from disaster.

Improved infrastructure also brings in resilience in an economy. Most developed economies in the world have fantastic infrastructure. Even China has been very particular about building a vibrant infrastructure at all levels – from providing hassle free connectivity from dry ports to sea ports to hubs of economic activities. India as an emerging power house of the world economy will be adding a lot of verve in its pursuits to achieve economic excellence and resilience. Better connectivity to economic zones will unfold a flurry of economic activities, inviting huge investments and creating multiple jobs. It will not only boost productivity, infrastructure, economic progress and opportunities for youngsters but will also accelerate the growth of local economies as EZs are aimed at generating additional economic activities, promoting exports of goods and services, attracting investments from domestic and foreign sources, creation of employment opportunities, and development of infrastructure facilities.

Given India’s geographical size, there is an unlimited potential attached with EZs, which can effectively be cashed in on through NMP. According to an official statement posted on March 10, 2021, India has 378 special EZs presently notified out of which 265 are operational. These special EZs are a designated duty free enclave treated as a territory outside the customs territory of India for the purpose of authorized operations. No license is required for import. Manufacturing or service activities are allowed and the unit shall achieve positive net foreign exchange to be calculated cumulatively for a period of five years from the commencement of production. SEZ units will have freedom for subcontracting. No routine examination by customs authorities of export or import cargo. SEZ developers, co-developers and units also enjoy tax benefits as prescribed in the SEZs Act, 2005. In conclusion, India is gearing up for a major jump so far as infra connectivity is concerned.

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