This post is based on an article titled ‘Special Economic Zones: Revisiting the Policy Debate’ which came in the ‘Economic and Political Weekly’ authored by Aradhna Aggarwal.
The discontents against the SEZs are
1) This will bring about a significant revenue loss to the government. This will result in a kind of ‘disguised industry’ just as ‘disguised unemployment’. There will not be adequate production quid pro quo of the investments undertaken.
2) This will not only ruin various societies of their livelihood, but will also contribute to escalating inequalities and poverty. Moreover, relief and rehabilitation is to be provided by the SEZ developer. How far this will be successful is questionable.
3) This not only affects the people living in the proximity but also the agricultural sector as a whole. Of late, there has not been much growth in agriculture. This, like the author posits, will have serious implication for food security.
4) This will exacerbate the income and wealth inequalities. Moreover, since the public does not have access to the proceeding of SEZ’s, it will be difficult to ensure if the remaining 65% area is being used for productive purposes. [For that matter ensuring the 35% will prove difficult]
“The trend is already seen in the initial approvals. The share of the four most industrialised states (TN, Karnataka, Gujarat and
Maharashtra) in total approvals is 49.5 per cent. Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Haryana account for another 31.1 per cent of total approvals. Thus seven states account for 80.6 per cent of approvals. Their share of in-principle approvals is 63.8 per cent. On the other hand, industrially backward states of
Bihar, north-east and J and K do not have a single approval.”
Thus not only do these SEZ’s worsen the lives of significant number of people, but also contribute to widening regional disparities and that too all at a cost to the government and people.
Since a reader had requested me to discuss about SEZ’s, I thought of writing this post; though it is late.]