Project Leader: Arpita Mukherjee
Research Team: 

Ray, Parthapratim Pal and Saubhik Deb (External Consultants), Debolina
Mukherjee, Deboshree Ghosh, Deepti Mathur and Purva Singh

Commencement: April 2013 (First Phase), November 2013 (Second Phase)
Completion: January 2015
Funded by: Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India and Export Promotion Council for EOUs and SEZs (EPCES)

Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are industrial enclaves within a country that get certain incentives and business facilitation benefits which are not generally available to the rest of the country. To encourage private and foreign investments in SEZs, India came out with the SEZ policy in the year 2000 which was followed by an SEZ Act in 2005. Since then, India has one of the largest numbers of approved SEZs in the world. However, even after ten years of the Act, the SEZ policy in India is one of the highly debated policies with a number of studies arguing both in favour and against the SEZs.

Given this background, the objective of this study is to examine some of the common perceptions about SEZs. The study also makes policy recommendations to develop successful SEZs. Precisely, it examines the objectives as laid down by the SEZ Act, 2005; evaluates the performance of SEZs in India; compares the ease of doing business inside and outside the SEZs; compares the incentives offered under the SEZ policy with other polices and schemes of the central and state governments; analyses the costs and benefits of SEZs; assess the impact of the WTO and trade agreements on SEZs; and examines global best practices in SEZs. The study is based on a pan-India survey and secondary information analysis.

The study is completed and the report has been placed in the Parliament for initiating policy changes.