Congress, Trinamool object Ordinance way to SEZ bill

Congress, Trinamool object Ordinance way to SEZ bill

Agency News

New Delhi, Jun 26: Congress and Trinamool Congress on Wednesday objected to bringing in the Special Economic Zone Amendment bill through the Ordinance route.

During a debate on The Special Economic Zones (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which replaces the Special Economic Zones (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019, in the Lok Sabha, Congress member Shashi Tharoor said the bill is welcome but the way the Constitutional process subverted, was not.

Citing the Article 123 of the Constitution of India grants the President certain law-making powers to promulgate ordinances when either of the two Houses of Parliament is not in session, Dr Tharoor said the ordinance should be brought in only if there is an urgency. He also said the Supreme Court has given clarification in R C Cooper case. He said the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi should explain why Parliament was being used as a rubber stamp.

In the context that the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh brought the SEZ Act in 2005, Dr Tharoor said, 'The new India should start giving credit to old India.' This drew response from Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, who said that he had already done the same.

The Thiruvanathapuram Member said special courts could be set up for cases stuck in courts.

He also suggested single window for inflow of capital and investment and wanted to know examples of trusts and entities. The bill seeks to allow trusts to set up units in special economic zones (SEZs). He urged the government to 'do the right thing the right way and not resort to the ordinance way'.

Bhartruhari Mahtab of Biju Janata Dal also said the ordinance route to bring a new law should be avoided, adding that the legislation was being brought for discussion after 18 years.

He objected to the 'notified by the government' line in the bill. The Baba Kalyani-led committee constituted by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to study the existing SEZ policy of India submitted its report to the then Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu in November 2018.

Mr Mahtab wanted to know government's position on Employment and Economic Growth (Employment and Economic Enclaves-3Es). The government must refrain from making cosmetic changes, he said. Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandopadhyay said it has become the habit of the government to present a normal idea as a very big project.

He said forcefully land acquisition was made for SEZs. He said in China, SEZs were made on non-agricultural lands while in India, agricultural land was being used and farmers were not given appropriate prices.

DMK's DNV Senthilkumar S said he feared that the bill was brought to favour the few selected.

YSRCP's Geetha Viswanath Vanga said in her constituency Kakinada, land from farmers was acquired 14 years ago but no work has started for the SEZ.

Farmers were facing tough times as they can't cultivate their land and their economic condition was very bad, she said and urged that such lands should be returned to farmers.

Vinayak Raut of Shiv Sena suggested that if a land yields good crop, then that land should be spared and instead barren field should be used for SEZ.

Kaushalendra Kumar of JD-U said there were no SEZs in his state Bihar and demanded that they be set up so that his state also get benefits. (UNI)