Mumbai: In a landmark decision the government of Maharashtra rolled out on Tuesday an ambitious plan of distributing sanitary pads at highly subsidised cost to crores of students living in rural areas of the state. The state cabinet gave its approval to this scheme called "Asmita" which will be implemented soon.
The cabinet also decided to convert the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in to a Integrated Industrial Authority (IIA). A proposal of conversion will be sent to the central government very soon.
Asmita scheme is expected to be rolled of soon under which a pack of eight pads will be distributed in rural areas at just Rs.5. This is an unprecedented scheme undertaken by the government. The scheme will be implemented by the Rural Development ministry of the state government. The provision for this was done in the last budget of Maharashtra.
The state cabinet also approved the industrial policy on Tuesday. The central government already started a proccess to denotify the SEZ and the state has asked for more time the denotification of SEZ land. Earliear there were a provision of 60 percent land to be used for industrial purpose while the remaining should be use for residential. According to the new policy the ratio has been changed and the 85 percent land will be used for the industrial activity and the remaining 15 will be used for residential.
Maharashtra had initially approved 147 SEZs, but only 24 began operations. Over the years, 23 SEZs were scrapped. For the 124 SEZs that remain in the pipeline, a vast expanse of 73,376 acres of land had been identified. But projects on only 7, 555 acres—10% of the land — actually began operations. Initially Maharashtra has proposed 2,140 hectare into integrated industrial area (IIA) due to lack of any development since 2006 due to procedural and tax-related issues. The Navi Mumbai SEZ CO (NMSEZC) will be converted in to IIA.
Dronagiri Infrastructure, promoted by Reliance Group Tradecom LLP, along with Jai Corp and SKIL, holds 74% in NMSEZC while the 26% is held by the state run City & Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco). After conversion, Cidco will continue to hold 26% equity, and it will initially get 5% revenue share and later 7.5%. Urban development department of state has pushed the proposal as the land was laying idle for years. Cidco had handed over 1,842 hectare of land to NMSEZC. However, NMSEZC sought revision in milestones due to non-enactment of a state SEZ Act and global slowdown.
Subsequently, the government in 2010 granted extension of two years. However, the NMSEZC sought second extension in August 2012 due to lack of development of SEZ project.
But till date there is no decision about the second extension either by Cidco or by the state government. Cidco, in the meanwhile, had sought opinion from legal experts, who noted that granting further extension for project completion is futile unless there is certainty to grant incentives, and reopening the contract as non-SEZ is not viable.