Export Promotion Council for EOUs and SEZs Celebrated its 15th Foundation Day on January 16th
NEW DELHI, January 18, 2018/PRNewswire/ — Export Promotion Council for EOUs and SEZs (EPCES) celebrated its ’15th Founder Day’ on January 16, 2018 at New Delhi. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Vinay Sharma, Officiating Chairman of EPCES, said that the council was set up by Ministry of Commerce & Industry in 2003 and since the last 15 years, the organization has been working towards the export promotional needs of EOUs, SEZs and SEZ developers in the country.
The Founder Day Celebration was attended by several dignitaries, which included Shri G.K. Pillai, former Commerce Secretary, Shri Arun Goyal, Special Secretary, GST Council of India, Dr. L.B. Singhal, Development Commissioner, Noida SEZ, Shri Yogendra Garg, Additional Director General, GST Council of India, Shri Sanjeet Singh, Adviser, TRAI, Shri T.V. Ravi, Director (SEZs), Ministry of Commerce & Industry & Director General, EPCES, Shri S.S. Shukla, Jt. Development Commissioner, Noida SEZ, Shri R. Veeramani, Founder Chairman, EPCES, Shri R. K. Sonthalia, Past Chairman, EPCES, Shri P.C. Nambiar, Past Chairman, EPCES, Shri S.K. Saraf, Shri S.K. Badiga, Shri G.K. Gupta, President, FIEO, Shri Ajay Sahai, Director General, FIEO, Shri D.S. Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM, and other senior officers of Central Government and a large number of EOUs and SEZs.
Highlighting the role and importance of SEZs and EOUs in fulfilling the various economic and social development goals of various state governments, Dr. Vinay Sharma said that with oncoming polls, SEZs can help the states in achieving many of their promises made during the 2014 elections. The goals being:
1) ‘Make in India’: EOUs and SEZs are primarily for exports and the export figures.
Much more can be achieved with a little push and acceding to few issues requested by the trade.
2) ‘Exports from India’: The units in SEZs and the EOUs are exporting a lot and will continue to do more.
3) ‘Skill India’: Employment generation by this sector has been tremendous. Direct employment helps in creating indirect employment of 5 to 6 persons. So the figures speak for themselves.
4) ‘Rural Employment’: The EOUs and SEZs are spread all over India, including in rural areas where local employment is created. Businesses train the local youth and employ them in the units.
5) ‘Women Empowerment’: Majority of the units in SEZs employ 30% to 40% women on an average. Contribution of few production units like Brandix and apparel units in Andhra Pradesh is even higher with these providing employment to 18,000 women from surrounding villages comprising of over 90% employees. The leather units in Tamil Nadu employ 20,000 women from rural areas after training them.
Dr. Sharma added that if any foreign investor asks for say 200 acres of land to set up a factory, they face activists, NGOs and other interested locals and the projects get delayed whereas in the SEZs, space can be provided up to 500 acres without facing any problems. The investor can start construction in no time after getting ‘Single-Window Clearance’ and meet their investment objectives. The efforts of our Hon’ble Prime Minister to attract investments for ‘Make in India’ can be quickly put to results through the SEZs with plug and play kind of environment as available, he said.
He said there were many large projects that have been delayed that could have given a big push to the agendas of ‘Make in India’, ‘Skill India’, ‘Women Empowerment’. The Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor has been lingering for nine years, ECPIR Corridor between Kakinada-Visakhapatnam has made no significant progress and the Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor seems to be forgotten. The recently announced manufacturing hubs have long gestation periods, and the coastal manufacturing hubs are yet to see the light of the day. Similarly, there are many projects in the pipeline that have made no much significant progress but have the potential to create employment or exports from India. Surely SEZs are the best bet to achieve the above goals.
Dr. Sharma said Export Promotion Council for EOUs and SEZs (EPCES) had urged for the government’s help in meeting some of its objectives, which are as follows:
(a) Restoration of original SEZ Act which had attracted a lot of interest to invest in this segment not only from the local entrepreneurs but also from foreign companies. The applications filed with Board of Approvals (BOA) between 2006 and 20011 are clear indication of interest shown by the Indian businessmen. Had there been no tinkering with the Act with the imposition of MAT and DDT and thereafter Sunset Clause, this segment could have changed the industrial scenario in the country and could have beaten China also.
The promises made in the SEZ Act 2005 had created an atmosphere of positive investment growth which still can be achieved if the original SEZ Act is restored.
The businessmen already in the SEZs do not want any concessions in any kind or form but only the restoration of original SEZ Act and Rules
(c) The Export Oriented Units (EOUs) were the first to push exports from India with ‘Make in India’ but this movement has lost its charm due to least attention to this segment. There is immediate requirement of revival of EOUs business and environment for the larger interests of local economy, employment generation and forex earnings.
(d) The GST is a welcome move with few irritants which seem to be inadvertent and needs to be corrected, like 18% GST on export of services from SEZs is leading to exports of taxes. If not corrected immediately, the services segment of SEZs business may move to other countries including as close as Sri Lanka or the new entrant Nepal or the Far East. (e) A non-tax issue of refund by the seller to SEZ units and developers need to be corrected to either seller or buyers claim the refund.
(f) Many EOUs whose input raw-material attract higher IGST when their finished products have seller GST are getting stuck with refund of larger amounts for long period affecting their working capital which is adding the cost of production. This needs to be corrected.
(g) The corrections required are very few as mentioned above but the benefits are very large and thus beneficial to the trade & industry and image of the government
Export Promotion Council for EOUs & SEZs (EPCES) has been set up to service the export promotional needs of 100% Export Oriented Units (EOUs), Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Units and Special Economic Zone Developers in the country. Recognized by the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, EPCES’ facilitates interaction between the exporting community and government both at the central and state level and canalizes financial assistance rendered by the central government to members for assisting their export market development efforts. It also enables collaboration with other export promotion councils/ export promotion organizations in India and similar bodies in foreign countries as well as with international organizations working in the field. EPCES represents the EOU/SEZ Sector, which has approximately 6,000 operational EOUs/SEZ Units/SEZ Developers spread all over the country which contributes to approximately 30% of national exports.
EPCES provides financial assistance to EOUs/SEZ units through Market Development Assistance (MDA) for export promotion activities abroad and is also instrumental in organizing Open Houses/Seminars/Workshops in different states of the country for resolving their problems and eliciting suggestions for policy making by Government. It takes up issues affecting EOUs/SEZs with various Ministries like Commerce, Finance, CBEC, CBDT, RBI, State Governments etc.