Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath has written to chief ministers, asking them to give priority to waste and barren land while acquiring land for Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
"It is the state governments which acquire land for various purposes like roads, hospitals, industrial areas and ports and have their own relief and rehabilitation policy," Nath said at the meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to his ministry on Monday.
The Minister conveyed to the Members of Parliament that he had, on his part, written letters to chief ministers asking them to give priority to waste and barren land for developing the Special Economic Zones.
But he deplored the tendency to link all land issues with SEZs. "It is not possible to simply shift existing industrial activity to the SEZs. Any investment in SEZs has to be new investment with new machinery and other facilities," he said.
On the issue of revenue loss, Nath said tax benefits for infrastructure developers already exist even outside SEZs.
"In case of SEZ units, the corporate tax concessions are available only on export income. For sale in Domestic Tariff Area (DTA), 100 per cent duty and taxes as per import tariff have to be paid by the SEZ unit," he said.
There are no exemptions for such DTA sales under the SEZ regime, Nath added.
Brushing aside criticism on SEZs as "entirely misplaced", Nath said the "propaganda" was not based on facts.