Special Investment Region: New avatar of SEZ on the anvil?

 

The Goa government has proposed a new concept-Special Investment Region (SIR)-in its draft investment-cum-industrial policy that seeks to boost industrial growth in the state.
 
Official sources said SIR is at the conceptual stage with its main objective to attract global and domestic players to set up industry of international standard and provide substantial employment to local, skilled manpower. Sources explained that special region would mean providing specially demarcated areas to the investor for setting up industrial units. There may be some incentives for such units too.
 
The proposal has not been discussed yet in detail at the industries department level or the Goa industrial development corporation level. But the government will seek suggestions and objections from the public before taking any decision, sources said.
 
It is not clear how different this concept would be from that of the special economic zone (SEZ). Around 15 SEZs were proposed by the Congress government in 2006 and the government of then chief minister Digambar Kamat had scrapped the SEZs in January 2008. The "land allotment scam involving SEZs" which was raised by present chief minister and then opposition leader Manohar Parrikar is yet to be taken to its logical conclusion.
 
Sources said the new SIR concept is being mooted to build investor confidence and to attract new industry to Goa. They claimed this is because Goa's image as an investor-destination suffered after the then government abruptly cancelled the SEZ projects in Goa following the anti-SEZ agitation of which BJP was a part.
 
Goa chamber of commerce and industry had also criticized the Goa government for abruptly scrapping SEZs then and had favoured at least two such SEZs for IT and pharma to provide employment to locals. [TOI]