With anti land acquisition protests in various parts of the country having forced the government to halt fresh approvals for SEZs, the empowered group of ministers will decide next week on how to grant approvals to SEZs while addressing the contentious issue of land acquisition.
Commerce and industry minister Kamal Nath said that the empowered group of ministers will discuss what to do with the proposals where land acquisition is not an issue and where it is an issue.
However, Nath was emphatic that there was no proposal before the EGoM`s scheduled meeting on January 22 to limit the number of SEZ approvals in a particular sector. He said that it had been decoded in the previous meeting of the empowered group of ministers that the issue of sector-wise caps on SEZs would be examined after 100 SEZs were notified.
So far, 62 SEZs have been notified.
The board of approval for SEZs has cleared 237 projects and given in-principle sanctions to another 160. More than half of these zones are in the IT sector.
However, since October 2006 no new approvals have been granted and the board of approvals has twice postponed its meeting this month.
The empowered group of ministers on SEZs is now meeting on Monday after a gap of five months as scheduled. At its meeting in August, it had removed the limit on the number of SEZs from 150. It had also decided to review the situation in next five months or when 75 SEZs become operational, whichever is earlier.
Nath said land acquisition was not an SEZ issue since state governments acquired land for other projects as well and it was for them so see whether laws in this regard needed to be changed.