MANGALORE: Experts participating in a symposium on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) have said that SEZs are economic entities that have to be carefully considered before commissioning. The one-day symposium was organised by the St. Aloysius Institute of Social Work here on Wednesday.
Inaugurating the symposium, A.M. Narahari, a Commerce faculty member, said SEZs could do a number of things for a country, particularly in transforming barren land into economic hubs. It could empower people economically by creating a large number of jobs. But, he said, there were a number of aberrations, particularly when it came to earmarking fertile agricultural land for SEZs.
Prof. Narahari said that in a country like India SEZs were one of the options for the economic empowerment of the people. Norbert Lobo, of the Economics Department who spoke on “Economic reforms in India”, said the signals of non-reversible economic liberalisation were could be seen in the economy. Before the country ushered in the liberalisation process in 1991, the country faced an economic crisis, which brought it to the brink of a debt trap. The conditions in 1991 were ripe for total liberalisation and sowed the seeds of the concept of SEZs , he said. If India had not got into the liberalisation mode, there could have been disastrous consequences, Prof. Narahari said.
The present-day SEZ concept had been ushered in based on two major reforms, namely, macro-economic stabilisation and structural adjustments. External sector reforms, which were one of the components of the total economic rejuvenation package, were devised by the former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, the then Finance Minister Manmohan Singh and the then Commerce Minister P. Chidambaram in 1991.
\That package paved the way for SEZs. They would work only in the right political and social conditions, he added.