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Bill to Amend SEZ Act in Lok Sabha

In Nation
June 24, 2019

A bill to allow trusts to set up units in special economic zones (SEZs) was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on Monday.

The Union Cabinet had recently approved introduction of the Special Economic Zones (Amendment) Bill, 2019 to replace an ordinance which was promulgated in March by the previous government. The ordinance had paved the way for trusts to set up units in SEZs.

After the amendment of sub-section (v) of section 2 of the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005, a trust or any entity notified by the central government will be eligible to be considered for grant of permission to set up a unit in SEZs, according to the bill. The amendment also seeks to provide flexibility to the central government to include ‘trusts’ in the definition of a ‘person’, in a bid to facilitate investments in these zones.

To set up a unit in these zones, which are treated as foreign entities in terms of customs rules, an applicant would have to approach the Board of Approval, which is headed by the commerce secretary. The present provisions of the Act do not permit ‘trusts’ to set up units in SEZs. ‘Person’ defined in the Act who are allowed to seek permission for setting up units does not include ‘trusts’.

Currently, the definition of ‘person’ includes an individual, whether resident in India or outside India, a Hindu undivided family, cooperative society, a company, whether incorporated in India or outside, a firm, proprietary concern, or an association of persons or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, local authority and any agency, office or branch owned or controlled by such individual.