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Centre will examine new SEZ policy: Commerce Secretary

She added: “Very large plots of land were taken under possession, but the industry has not settled down. It is only right and proper that these assets should become available for other public purpose”.
Teaotia was speaking at a leadership oration on ‘Emerging Contours of Global Trade’, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry at the CII-Suresh Neotia Centre of Excellence for Leadership. 

“There are references in this legislation to excise tax and other duties. We are going to look at wherever any taxation structure and the procedural parts in the SEZ acts are referred to and the step is being taken to make those consistent with the GST regime. At present, some legal experts are going through it and we won’t freeze it till the GST act is final. The reason being it has got to be based on GST,” Teaotia said.

In reply to a question on the application by Infosys for SEZ status on a piece of land at New Town, she said: “I won’t comment on specific cases. But our clear view is that the SEZ is set up only with the consent of the state government and when we move forward we take concurrence of the state government. So, if everything is alright the board of approval will always give the clearance.”

In connection with the SEZ issue, she maintained: “There is a greater emphasis now on service sector in the SEZs, and also the manufacturing SEZ at the same time. In the early years, very large tracks of land were taken under possession and if they were only speculative or industry has not settle down in the area, then it is only right and proper that this asset should become available for other public purpose.

In connection to a question on requirement of a new SEZ law after the GST is in place, Teaotia said: “We would examine the need for a new policy. At this moment, what I am talking about is the need to make our legislation consistent with the GST law. The intention is that we prefer that flexibility should remain with the industry.”

In connection with, export tax she further said: “The idea of the exports is that you don’t export your taxes. You export the cost of those goods, how they are produced and the production cost. Currently, the basic concept is that you get complete tax waiver on the exports. The mechanism for doing that here is when you buy your inputs you need to get a return on those goods which are exported.”

“With a GST regime, you would get a much more clean line and that should bring down the tax you are required to pay and the cost of your final product,” Teaotia said, adding that some of the schemes are linked again to the refund of taxes.

“Since the format in GST already provides it for exports, you will have to look at that how those would get required or moderated. So this is going to anyway undergo many things in the GST council,” she added.

On Friday, Teaotia and her delegation met the Chief Secretary Basudeb Banerjee in Nabanna to discuss on all exports, including goods and services, and issues related to the Tea Board.

While replying to a question on the appointment of a permanent chairperson for the Tea Board, she said: “As far as the chairman’s position is concerned, we are actively scouting for a suitable person as full time chairman. Meanwhile, however, the gentleman who has been given charge is here every single week. So I find it very hard to believe when you say people don’t know who to talk to. He is very much on the ball, decisions were all being taken and none of the schemes have faltered at all in terms of performance during this period.

“The intention of the government is to consider bifurcating a non-executive head [from the CEO], so that there is a policy direction as separate from the execution part of it. In any case, in administration you would always look at what would be the best package to deliver on the modern scenario. There is a decision to segregate a non-executive chairman from the CEO,” said Teaotia.

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