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India's Special Economic Zones Plan Runs Into Opposition

Shenzhen and Pudong (near Hong Kong and Shanghai respectively) were developed as Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Now India's plans to fast-tract and focus such development into designated areas have run into opposition from diverse sectors like India's left.

"So why are they - and a wide cross-section of other people - so opposed to an initiative that on paper at least provides for special export-promoting industrial areas with superior infrastructure facilities and tax concessions?"

"Critics of the proposed SEZs say that rather than promote prosperity, the zones will in fact create economic hardship because they would be built on prime agricultural land, without adequate compensation for farmers...Others point out that the tax subsidies being offered by the government may well be challenged in the World Trade Organisation, and could attract trade retaliatory measures from importing countries."

Critics of the proposed SEZs argue that the plans will destroy viable farmland in the name of prosperity, and offer no compensation to the displaced farmers.

Full Story: Economic zone plans polarise India


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