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`SEZs should promote manufacturing'

Our Bureau

Panel calls for proper safeguards


IN SUPPORT OF SEZS: (From left) The Minister of State for Industry, Mr Ashwini Kumar; the Chairman of the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC), Dr V. Krishnamurthy; the Advisor to Finance Minister, Dr Parthasarathy Shome; and Member-Secretary, NMCC, Mr V. Govindarajan; at the first meeting of the empowered sub-committee of the high-level committee on manufacturing in the Capital on Thursday. - Kamal Narang

New Delhi , Oct. 26

The Chairman of the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council (NMCC), Mr V. Krishnamurthy, has urged adequate `safeguards' with regard to Special Economic Zones (SEZ) to ensure they promote manufacturing activity and are avenues for incremental growth.

"As a concept, SEZs are good since they provide infrastructure and common facilities for industrialists, who would otherwise have to scurry around for developed land. But there should be proper safeguards so that they are more manufacturing-oriented and are not being developed for other purposes," Mr Krishnamurthy told presspersons here on Thursday. He further emphasised that SEZs should facilitate `incremental growth' and not end up encouraging `industrial relocation'. He expressed satisfaction over the country experiencing a 11.8 per cent manufacturing growth during the first five months of the current fiscal.

"We are happy that many of our (NMCC's) specific recommendations relating to excise duties for man-made textiles and electronic hardware have already been incorporated in this year's Budget proposals. The outlook for domestic manufacturing in these sectors is much more bullish than earlier, when many players wanted to relocate to other countries," he said. Mr Krishnamurthy, who chaired the first meeting of the Empowered Sub-Committee of the High Level Committee for Manufacturing, said that the country could emerge as a global player in the manufacture of high-value advanced technology products (ATP).

"The share of ATPs in our manufacturing export basket is now minimal. A recent report has shown that the US imported $240 billion worth of ATPs in 2004, of which China and the East Asian nations supply 59 per cent, while we do not figure in the list. We have decided to constitute an Expert Group to evolve a strategy," he added.

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