The lease rent of units operating in state-owned Special Economic Zones (SEZs) will not be increased during 2020-21. This was announced by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on Monday. The Ministry has also said that the first quarter lease rent payment of units working in SEZ has been deferred till 31st July 2020. No interest will be charged on rent for this extended period.
Discussions held with the Department of Expenditure
The Ministry said it has decided to provide this relief to SEZ units after consultations with the Department of Expenditure in view of the Coronavirus epidemic. He told that there will be no increase in lease rent of SEZ-based units during the year 2020-21. The Ministry has also asked the Development commissioners of other Special Economic Zones to ask the State Government and privately owned SEZ developers to consider similar relief measures.
Seven state-owned SEZs in the country
There are seven state-owned SEZs in the country. They are in Kandla, Chennai, Falta, Kochi, Noida, Santacruz and Visakhapatnam. All these areas are under the inspection of a Development commissioner. A DC remarked that this is going to be a welcome step by our government and it will help units at a time when they are struggling to deal in the times of lockdown imposed due to the outbreak of coronavirus. Since the lockdown has been imposed from 25 March 2020, all the units are not operational, but food and pharma related facilities have been allowed to operate during the period.
The country’s major export centres are SEZ
He said that at a time when the units at SEZ are struggling in a situation arising out of lockdown, this relief of the government will help them. SEZ is the major export hub of the country. The Government also provides a number of incentives to the units located in these areas with a single window export facility.
Export turnover increased by 14.5 per cent in first half
The total export turnover of SEZ-based units increased by 14.5 per cent to Rs.3.82 lakh crore in the first half of FY20, compared to Rs.7.02 lakh crore in the previous fiscal year of 2018-19.