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‘Forget SEZ, it is sunset’, Mamata Banerjee tells IT biggies.

Date: 07-07-2017
Subject: ‘Forget SEZ, it is sunset’, Mamata Banerjee tells IT biggies
KOLKATA: The Mamata Banerjee government's 'no-SEZ policy' — that had drawn adverse reactions from a section of the industry — stands vindicated in the wake of the Centre's 'SEZ sunset' policy, which has not allowed any new special economic zone in the country from April this year.

Banerjee on Thursday told a gathering of IT bigwigs at the Nasscom East Awards meet that the state government was ready to offer any facility, barring an SEZ, to IT and ITeS and allied sectors. "Forget SEZ. It is sunset. Please come here, invest and take care of Bengal. It's your home," she said.

When asked whether their SEZ dream in Bengal ended here, Wipro board member and vice-chairman Rishad Premzi told TOI on the sidelines of the meet that the IT giant was exploring fresh avenues in the state now. "We are discussing fresh proposals with the Bengal government," said Rishad, the son of Wipro founder and chairman Azim Premji.

Nasscom president and former Union IT secretary R Chandrasekhar endorsed that no new SEZ has been all-owed to come into effect after April 2017 as, according to the 'sunset clause', only existing SEZs will get benefits under the new GST law, up to a certain period.

It may be noted that mega IT projects of technology giants like Infosys and Wipro had been in the balance for more than six years, as the Trinamool government refused to give the green light to their SEZ applications at the Board of Approvals under the Union ministry of commerce and industry. Both Wipro and Infosys formally applied for SEZ status last year.

Commenting on the SEZ applications, the chief minister said Wipro had asked for it, "but I told them that it is a sunset policy and we can provide everything, except an SEZ".

Banerjee said the IT industry had the potential to "connect sky to earth and people to grassroots", adding, "In Bengal, we have enough talent pool for it.... Manpower is not a problem here."

The chief minister also tried to hard-sell Bengal by claiming it was the cheapest business destination, and the attrition rate was also one of the lowest in the country. "Our attrition rate is only 5%, while the national average is 35%. Bengal is also the gateway to Southeast Asia and the seven states of the northeast," she said.

Besides Premji Junior, the flagship Nasscom event in the east was attended by Nasscom national chairman Raman Roy, C P Gurnani of Tech Mahindra, along with several other IT bigwigs of the country. Both the president and the chairman of the premier IT industry body hailed the state government for its IT initiatives.

Finance and industries minister Amit Mitra and IT minister Bratya Basu were also present at the meet.

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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