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GK Pillai slashes doubts abt SEZ in WTO Secretariat report

May '07
In the 15 months since the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Act and Rules were notified on 10th February 2006, investments of the order of $ 8 billion have already been made and another $25 billion investment is underway.

This was indicated in the reply on behalf of India by Shri G.K. Pillai, Commerce Secretary, at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Policy Review Meeting for India in Geneva.“As far as SEZs are concerned, I think the WTO Secretariat was a little premature in expressing doubt about their effectiveness in boosting both investment and employment."

So far, over 31000 people have got direct employment and this is expected to rise to 100,000 by the end of this calendar year and to 4 million by the end of 2010."The large number of textile, gems and leather SEZs being established would provide employment for a less skilled labour force”, he said, allaying WTO doubts expressed in the WTO Secretariat report on this score.

Underlining macro-economic sustainability, the reply states that the recent rise in inflation is due to (i) the global acceleration in inflation and the rise in world commodity prices, including food and energy; (ii) the slower rise in Indian interest rates that lagged the rise in world rates.

The fiscal situation, which earlier used to raise some disquiet among the international financial community, is now firmly under control. Since the passing of the Fiscal Reform and Budget Management Act, in July 2004, the fiscal deficit has declined steadily to reach 6.3% of GDP in 2006-07(BE). Thus, one of the major factors that could lead to higher long-term inflation is now in abatement as a result of extensive fiscal reforms.

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