The Centre on Thursday asked the state governments to put in place a single point clearance system for speedy approvals of SEZs, as these tax-free zones are contributing significantly to the country's exports.
"Today at the board of approval meeting what we have told the state government representatives is that you must establish single window clearance system at the state level so that you do not deal with each proposal in a piecemeal manner and you do not make businesses run from one corner to the next," commerce secretary Rahul Khullar told reporters in New Delhi.
SEZ developers have been facing problems in setting up their projects as they have to take permissions from state authorities for master plan and environment at different levels.
They also have to deal with state electricity and water supply agencies.
The SEZ Act of 2005 seeks to ensure that developers get their clearances not only at the central level but also in states at a single place.
Most of the state governments do not have effective single window clearance mechanism. Khullar said he would be writing to state chief secretaries for speedy implementation of the single window system.
"As a follow up (of today's BoA meeting) I will be writing to the Chief Secretaries in a day or two," Khullar, who chaired the inter-ministerial board of approval said.
Further, the BoA approved setting up of nine new special economic zones, including the ones by Ozone SEZ Developers and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, in different parts of the country.
D K Mittal, additional secretary in department of commerce informed that the BoA has also allowed more time to 14 developers, including Satyam Computer Services Ltd, Navi Mumbai SEZ Pvt Ltd, Uttam Galva Steel and Wockhardt Infrastructure Development Ltd, for completing work on SEZs.
Earlier, 105 SEZ developers have been granted extension of one year to execute their projects.
On exports from the SEZs, Mittal said the outward shipments from the 101 functional SEZs in the country was Rs 1.52 lakh crore (Rs 1.52 trillion) in the first nine months of the current fiscal against about Rs 66,000 crore (Rs 660 billion) in the corresponding period last year.
Under the SEZ Act, units in these zones are given 100 per cent tax exemption on their income for the first five years and 50 per cent in the next five years.
A total of 579 SEZs have been approved, of which 335 have been notified and 101 are functional.
The SEZs have attracted investment of over Rs 1.10 lakh crore (Rs 1.10 trillion) and exports from the units during April-December 2009-10 stood at Rs 1,50,000 crore (Rs 1,500 billion).