The special economic zones (SEZs) are lobbying for a new method to calculate income tax based only on the turnover from the SEZ. This would not include revenues from non-SEZ units of the company, according to LB Singhal, director general, Export Promotion Council export-oriented and SEZ units.
Speaking at a conference on SEZs, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, he said the SEZ Act currently allows companies to get cent per cent income tax exemption from export incomes for the first five years. However, since the present method of calculating income tax is based on the total turnover, it is resulting in lower exemption.
He stressed the need for the Reserve Bank of India to identify SEZs as industrial parks and not as real estate units, as considered now. This will enable the former to raise capital from banks and through external commercial borrowings. The matter has been placed before the Empowered Group of Ministers, he added.
The exports from SEZs this year are projected to touch Rs 1,25,000 crore from Rs 66,600 crore during 2007-08. The Centre has approved 531 SEZs in the country and as many as 270 of these have already been notified while 87 have started operations.
Earlier, state industries minister J Geeta Reddy said only wastelands or single crop lands were being acquired for SEZs. The 56 SEZs spread in 15 of the 23 districts in Andhra have till now provided direct employment to 25,000 people.