Even as Special Economic Zones are hotly debated, Gujarat is plowing ahead. In an exclusive interview with CNBC-TV18, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi says these zones, specially port-based ones, are the main agenda for growth.
Modi, seems unperturbed by talk about hurdles to the growth of special economic zones all over India. He believes SEZs are the way to go.
Some of the proposed zones include an 11,000-acre petroleum and petrochemicals SEZ by the Reliance Group in Jamnagar, two multi-product zones at Mundra and Dholera by the Adani Group and another in Jamnagar by the Essar Group.
"We are interested in quality SEZs and where they would stand amid global level SEZs. We are also not interested in smaller SEZs but bigger ones," said Narendra Modi. Gujarat has enacted flexible labour laws under a separate SEZ Act, passed in 2004. The Act also makes it easier for private enterprise to acquire land for SEZs. And the government will leave zone development to private firms.
"There is no controversy on Gujarat model of SEZ development, neither is there any concern about what would happen to farmers. India today is talking of Gujarat's SEZ model," he added.
The government hopes Gujarat will become India's SEZ capital.
The state hopes to attract investment of Rs25,000 crore to Rs35,000 crore in these zones and generate thousands of jobs over the next five years. Such prosperity is likely to silence objections to the zones.