labels: industry - general, economy - general
Rural development ministry joins the SEZ-policy fray news
29 September 2006

Commerce minister, Kamal Nath has sought the prime minister''s intervention to ensure clarity in the SEZ Act. Nath has also taken up the RBI''s clarification on treating SEZ loans as real estate lending with the prime minister, reports CNBC-TV18.

Meanwhile, the Board of Approvals cleared 18 SEZ proposals yesterday taking the total tally to 181. The board will be meeting again today to consider the pending proposals. The commerce minister believes that policy uncertainty will not slacken investments.

However, union rural development minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh advocates cautiousness and says that all aspects of the SEZ policy must be considered before the government takes a decision.

"I am of the opinion that all aspects of India''s past, present and future and all possible situations must be considered with respect to SEZs and this matter must be rethought and reviewed," said Singh.

Bankers have also sounded a note of caution on the issue of SEZ funding. After ICICI Bank''s KV Kamath insisting on more clarity, even Anil Khandelwal, CMD of Bank of Baroda said that there is need for more clarity on the policy.

"There is need clarity in policy. SEZs are of national priority. So as PSU banks, we have to respond to that," said Anil Khandelwal, CMD, Bank Of Baroda.

In an accompanying development, Fitch ratings has sounded a note of caution for the banking sector, on worries that unabated loan grown may lead to a "systemic crisis". Fitch had moved India from the "low risk" category to the "moderate risk" category earlier this month.

Fitch says that 30 per cent loan growth seen in the banking space could lead to higher than average indebtedness. Responding to the Fitch statement that it may have to move Indian banks to a higher risk category because of their frenetic pace of loan growth, RBI governor YV Reddy responded by saying that this was too judgmental.

Reddy also said that global growth may have moderated but inflationary expectations are still hardening. He said that it might be too early to say if he will stop hiking interest rates.

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Rural development ministry joins the SEZ-policy fray