Pending revision of guidelines for setting up special economic zones, the government will continue to approve proposals for new special economic zones which would be developed in an environmentally sustainable way.
The government would consider fresh applications for SEZs on December 15.
"The board of approval of the SEZs to consider proposals for setting up of the tax free enclaves and other requests will be held on December 15," a government official said.
The 19-member, inter-ministerial BoA is chaired by commerce secretary Rahul Khullar. The government is yet to give a final shape to the new SEZ norms for which it has invited public comments.
The broad areas on which comments have been invited include site identification, land acquisition, development plans, role of state governments and physical infrastructure. ". . .based on experience gained so far, formulation of certain broad guidelines to govern the development of SEZs has been considered appropriate to ensure environmentally sustainable well planned development of the SEZs," the official said.
The draft guideline says cultivable land should be considered only if adequate other land is not available.
"First preference should be for acquisition of waste and barren land, followed by single crop land and double crop land necessary to meet the contiguity requirements," it said.
The draft guidelines say that site for a SEZ shall have the potential for development as a self-contained entity along with environmental sustainability.
As of now the government has given formal approvals for setting up of 578 SEZs out of which 340 have been notified. SEZs have provided employment to 4,18,000 people. Exports from the SEZs during the first two quarters of the current fiscal is estimated at about Rs 89,750 crore (Rs 897.5 billion).