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Benefits of SEZs questioned

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Safeguarding interests: Writer Banjagere Jayaprakash delivering a lecture in Chitradurga on Friday, on Special Economic Zones.
Safeguarding interests: Writer Banjagere Jayaprakash delivering a lecture in Chitradurga on Friday, on Special Economic Zones.

Staff Correspondent

They will only create social unrest, divisions: Banjagere Jayaprakash

‘Land acquisition for SEZs will leave

farmers enslaved’

‘Their advent is the beginning of economic invasion’

Chitradurga: Writer Banjagere Jayaprakash has said that Special Economic Zones (SEZs), a concept brought into existence by the West, would only create economic unrest and social divisions in developing countries.

Delivering a lecture on SEZs at the Government Arts College here on Friday, he said economists and social workers were worried not only about the effects of such institutions on the economy but also with the politicisation of the issue.

“Policymakers have framed norms that help only a section of entrepreneurs and not the people at large. Setting up SEZs will only help the elite who have an international corporate presence. Many people term the SEZ concept revolutionary and a process towards economic advancement, but if analysed practically, it is only a step towards economic slavery,” he said.

Elaborating on how the concept is perilous to developing countries, Mr. Jayaprakash said industries set up in SEZs were given a 10-year tax holiday.

The Government would have to bear their financial burden if they suffered losses owing to natural or man-made calamities. “Such rules will only help the proprietors and not the Government. The Union Finance Minister has himself agreed that with the introduction of SEZs, the country will lose tax revenues of over Rs. 1 lakh crore,” he said.Mr. Jayaprakash said the Union Government had approved 131 SEZs in the country, for which over 70,000 hectares of land had been acquired. In Karnataka, 32 SEZs had been sanctioned and over 11,000 hectares of land had been acquired. Several other projects were awaiting approval, he added.

He expressed apprehension over such land acquisition and said that farmers would only end up being enslaved instead of being liberated from financial duress.

The advent of SEZs was the beginning of economic invasion, he said. After independence, India had “sold” out to the West. Although many indigenous companies were stakeholders in various SEZs, none of them were being financed by foreign countries. He charged multinational companies with having safeguarded only their interests.

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