The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on Friday criticised the changes suggested by the government in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) policy as "totally inadequate" and said they would raise the issue in parliament if the government went ahead with it.
"The changes in the SEZ policy suggested by the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) is totally inadequate and falls far short of what is required. The EGoM has left the exorbitant and unjustified tax concessions intact," the party said.
"By this, the government of India stands to loose tens of thousands of billions of rupees in revenue. The iniquitous tax bonanza was one of the basic problems with the SEZ Act and Rules. Without revising these concessions, the SEZ concept will not find acceptance," it said in a statement.
"The cap of 5,000 hectares is uncalled for. The minimum size of 1,000 hectares for multi-product SEZs has also not been lowered," it said demanding that such multi-product zones should not get land more than 400 hectares.
On Thursday, the government gave the go ahead to SEZs but introduced a 5,000 hectares ceiling on the size and tighter norms for utilisation of land for core activities. It has also laid down that at least one member of each displaced family be given a job in the SEZ.
CPI-M, which supports the United Progressive Alliance government on the floor of parliament without joining the council of ministers, said there was an urgent need to review the type of industries to be set up in these zones and apply sector-wise caps on them.
Alleging that the government had ignored the suggestions made by Left parties, the CPI-M said: "If the government proceeds with the SEZs in the present form, the matter will have to be taken up in parliament."
It also voiced concern over state governments not being involved in the process of land acquisition.
"Allowing corporates to buy large tracts of land for SEZs will put small farmers, tenants and agricultural workers at the mercy of land sharks," it argued.
"In the absence of any changes in the Land Acquisition Act and a rehabilitation policy which can be legally enforceable, the license being given to corporates to buy land on a large scale will be harmful," the party said.