Em­ploy­ment to be main cri­te­rion for coastal zones


Coastal Eco­nomic Zones (CEZs) may be re­named Coastal Em­ploy­ment Zones, keep­ing in view their job-gen­er­at­ing po­ten­tial and giv­ing them an iden­tity.

Union Ship­ping Min­is­ter Nitin Gad­kari’s favourite project will make em­ploy­ment gen­er­a­tion the main con­di­tion while giv­ing ap­proval to in­dus­trial units look­ing at set­ting up shop in these zones.

Under its Sa­gar­mala pro­gramme, the gov­ern­ment had in July 2016 an­nounced build­ing 14 CEZs, which will be aligned to ports in mar­itime states. These will house Coastal Eco­nomic Units for set­ting up man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

Ac­cord­ing to a se­nior of­fi­cial in the know, “The pro­posal to change the name and def­i­ni­tion of CEZs was mooted by the NITI Aayog in the last in­ter-min­is­te­rial com­mit­tee meet­ing. The fo­cus of the eco­nomic zones will be on em­ploy­ment and have an iden­tity dis­tinct from that of the ex­ist­ing SEZs (spe­cial eco­nomic zones).”

It is learnt that the Min­istry of Ship­ping has floated a Cab­i­net note for these zones and the re­sponse from the min­istries con­cerned is awaited.

For pro­mot­ing port-led in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion, 14 CEZs, cov­er­ing all the mar­itime states and Union Ter­ri­to­ries, were iden­ti­fied as part of the Na­tional Per­spec­tive Plan under the Sa­gar­mala pro­gramme.

The per­spec­tive plans for all 14 CEZs were pre­pared in con­sul­ta­tion with the state gov­ern­ments and cen­tral min­istries con­cerned.

The idea be­hind port-led in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion through the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment of CEZs under the Sa­gar­mala pro­gramme was to pro­vide im­pe­tus to the Make In In­dia ini­tia­tive of the gov­ern­ment.

The Sa­gar­mala pro­gramme has four es­sen­tial fea­tures — port mod­erni­sa­tion, port con­nec­tiv­ity, por­tled in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion, and coastal com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment. The CEZs fall in the third cat­e­gory.

Ports han­dle 90 per cent of the coun­try’s EXIM cargo by vol­ume and 70 per cent by value. Gu­jarat alone caters for 2530 per cent of cargo traf­fic. There­fore, con­nect­ing the coastal ar­eas to ports through port-led de­vel­op­ment was planned be­cause prox­im­ity to the port brings down the lo­gis­tics cost of a com­pany sub­stan­tially.

The 14 pro­posed sites are Kachchh, Surya­pur and Saurashtra in Gu­jarat; North and South Konkan in Ma­ha­rash­tra; Dak­shin Ka­nara in Kar­nataka; Mal­abar in Ker­ala; Man­nar, VCIC South and Poom­puhar in Tamil Nadu; VCIC Cen­tral and North in Andhra Pradesh; Kalinga in Odisha; and Gaud in West Ben­gal.

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