The Special Economic Zones (SEZs) policy was launched in April, 2000. The Special Economic Zones Act, 2005, was passed by Parliament in May, 2005 which received Presidential assent on the 23rd of June, 2005. The SEZ Rules, 2006 came into effect on 10th February, 2006. The salient features of the SEZ scheme are:-
- A designated duty free enclave to be treated as a territory outside the customs territory of India for the purpose of authorised operations in the SEZ;
- No licence required for import;
- Manufacturing or service activities allowed;
- The Unit shall achieve Positive Net Foreign Exchange to be calculated cumulatively for a period of five years from the commencement of production;
- Domestic sales subject to full customs duty and import policy in force;
- SEZ units will have freedom for subcontracting;
- No routine examination by customs authorities of export/import cargo;
- SEZ Developers /Co-Developers and Units enjoy tax benefits as prescribed in the SEZs Act, 2005.
This information was given by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.