SEZ Reform Measures Listed

The Department of Commerce has initiated various measures to improve India’s ranking under “Trade Across Border” indicator in World Bank’s “Doing Business Report”, in consultation with CBEC, RBI and other central government Departments.

Following initiatives have been taken for Special Economic Zones (SEZs) which are presently under implementation:

1.  Service Delivery - Activities related to Developers and Units in SEZs were identified and timelines for completion of the said activities were prescribed and implemented. It was launched on 14.08.2014 in all Zones. This is being monitored by Development Commissioners regularly.

2.  Digitization and online processing of various activities relating to SEZ Developers and Units has been introduced in all Zones from 01.11.2014. The option of either filing applications online or in hardcopy is available to Developers/Units till 31.12.2014. Thereafter, from 01.01.2015, only online applications for all activities (except for setting up of new SEZs) will be entertained from Developers and Units.

3.  Standardisation of procedures, practices and forms in all SEZs has been implemented from 28.10.2014. Procedures for regulating certain activities which were not indicated in SEZ Act and Rules have been standardised, e.g.:-

·        Utilization of goods by the Developer / Co-Developer,

·        Approval of material for authorised operations by Developer / Co-Developer

·        Information required for renewal of LoA for 5 years

·        Format for lease deed and its renewal, and

·        Format for Annual Performance Report of the Units has been revised and simplified.

4.  The mechanism for redressal of grievances of SEZ Developers / Units and its monitoring has been revisited and implemented in all the Zones.

In order to reduce the number of documents for exports CBEC has taken measures to merge Foreign Exchange Control Form (SDF) with shipping bill and packing list with commercial invoice. Accordingly, necessary changes in the software would be made by 31st March, 2015. Further, in order to dispense with terminal handling receipt at JNPT, Ministry of Shipping would automate this activity by 31st January, 2015. With these reform initiatives the mandatory documents required for exports would be reduced from seven at present to only three. Similarly, for the purposes of import, efforts are being made to reduce the mandatory documents from 10 at present to 4. An inter-ministerial team headed by DGFT is also visiting JNPT next week for understanding the various processes in the field and streamlining the same.

It has also been decided to make the process of applying for Importer Exporter Code (IEC) mandatorily online w.e.f. 1st January, 2015 and issue IEC within two working days. This would not only obviate the need for paper application but also expedite the decision making.

[PIB (MoC&I) Press Release dated 28th November 2014]