Annual Supplement (2013-14) to the Foreign Trade Policy 2009-14: Govt declares SEZ reforms to arouse investors’ interest

Union Minister for Commerce, Industry and Textiles, Anand Sharma announced The Annual Supplement 2013-14 to Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2009-14, which has introduced the following package of measures to revive investors’ interest in SEZs:

  • Reduction in the total size of land area required for development of SEZs to its half. For Multi-product SEZ from 1000 hectares to 500 hectares and for Sector-specific SEZ from existing 100 hectares to 50 hectares.
  • No minimum land requirement for setting up IT / ITES SEZs
  • Introduction of Graded Scale for Minimum Land Criteria which would permit a SEZ an additional sector for each contiguous 50 hectare parcel of land.
  • Introduction of Sectoral broad-banding to encompass similar / related areas under the same sector.
  • For issues relating to Vacancy of Land:  While, the existing Govt. policy allows for parcels of land with pre-existing structures not in commercial use to be considered as vacant land for the purpose of notifying an SEZ, it has now been decided that additions to such pre-existing structures and activities being undertaken after notification would be eligible for duty benefits similar to any other activity in the SEZ.
  • Inclusion of an Exit Policy in existing SEZ Framework: Decision to allow transfer of ownership of SEZ units, including sale.

Several schemes and steps have been introduced and many existing schemes have been modified which include:

  • Zero Duty Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) Scheme
  • Widening of Interest Subvention Scheme
  • Widening the Scope of Utilization of Duty Credit Scrip
  • Market and Product Diversification
  • Incremental Exports Incentivisation Scheme
  • Facility to close cases of default in Export Obligation
  • Served from India Scheme (SFIS)
  • VKGUY Scheme : Visesh Krishi Gram Upaj Yojana (VKGUY) Exports Benefit Scheme.
  • Status Holder Incentive Scheme (SHIS)
  • Recredit of 4% SAD
  • Duty Free Import Authorization Scheme (DFIA)
  • Import of Cars
  • Improvement in quality and timeliness of Foreign Trade Data
  • Second Task Force on Transaction Cost in International Trade
  • Electronic Data Interchange Initiatives 
  • Ease of Documentation and procedural simplification
  • Widening of items eligible for import for Handloom/Made ups and Sports Goods

Etihad takes 24% stake in Jet Airways for USD 379 million

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad Airways took a 24 % minority stake in Jet Airways  for USD 379 million. This investment by Etihad Airways is the first in an Indian airline after the govt relaxed restrictions on overseas carriers buying into its aviation industry in 2012 i.e. since the change in FDI policy.

Jet’s founder and non-executive chairman Naresh Goyal, who was before acrimoniously opposed to opening up of FDI involvement for foreign airlines, was the first to move instantly after the government permitted international carriers to pick up a maximum of 49 % stake in domestic airlines in September 2012.