When a progress should be made, there should be appropriate sacrifices. There is no doubt in it. 'No Pains No Gains' There is no exception to the rule. The gain might be anything like Tanjore Temple, Tajmahal, Neyveli Electicity Station, Kolar mines, etc. Similary, now government is popularizing the concept of SEZ(Special Economic Zones). (If my analysis is right, In India, the first SEZ was formed in 60's)
Government says that these SEZs would help improve the nation's economy. We have P.Chidambaram, Montak Singh Ahluwalia, and Manmohan Singh who were are all educated in some of the best universities of the World. If they would suggest that SEZ is good, the Let us accept it.
A few questions arise in the mind of ordinary Indian
1. The major advantage/reason (as mentioned by the government) of SEZ is Foreign Investments. The major rule of SEZ is that the Government MUST provide uninterrupted supply of Power and Water to SEZs. There are several places in India which have not received even the traces of electricity. People might feel it as UNFAIR to provide something to foreigners when they are not entitled to it.
2. The primary requirement of SEZ is Land Acquisition. This has already created enough havoc all through the Nation. If SEZ has to be established, then the agricultural lands are targeted for acquisition. But, when there is a need to grow in the global arena, these sacrifices have to be made. But, Lands should be obtained(plucked) from farmers only after providing the proper compensation.
Now, the question of Proper compensation arises. What is the Proper compensation? The Government says that Proper compensation is decided by the document value of the Land. But, that value could not be used for any purposes. If the document value should be followed, the a ground at Old Mahabalipuram Road could be obtained for a few thousands. The government has acquired lands near Delhi airport. The compensation provided is few thousands. The land is provided for Reliance SEZ. The market value of land is many lakhs. Is it necessary/ethical to buy the lands at such cheap prices (from ordinary farmers) and sell it to Reliance.
Now, a similar issue has been raised in Udumalpet between Locals and Government. This deals with the Special Power Project for Power Grid Corportaion. The government is planning to remove atleast 6000 coconut trees. When the Government is ready to pay a compensation of 3000 - 4000 Rs per tree, the farmers expect Rs. 50000+ per tree. Everyone would already be aware of the Nandigram incident.So, Government should be ready to provide proper compensation for all the lands. The Government must also ensure the proper living of the People (removed from SEZ) through alternative business
3. The companies which would be established in SEZ would enjoy huge tax benefits. They enjoy the benefits in almost every aspects like Export Import License, Service Tax, Commercial Tax, etc. When it is possible for the Government to provide such huge tax benefits for SEZ, why do not the agricultural sector get some concessions? (The only concession provided, by all the governments, to agriculture is cancellation of the Agricultural Loans.) The exports and imports of agricultural products are taxable.
4. What is the rate of Employment through SEZ? There is no clear numbers. Also, it is well known that SEZ focuses on Hi Technology companies esp. IT companies. So, when the government acquires land from farmers and develop Hi Technology industries, How is it planned to compensate the defeciency in the poduction of agricultural products. The Government should provide a clear statement about its plan.
5. The Government says that SEZ will develop the Country. But, What is development? From my point of view, If all my people would get food, dress and shelter then it is the Primary Development. Then, Government can bring about further developments. But, if Government is planning to improve the standards of few at the cost of poor, then thi would lead to Chaos in the long run.
After all, India is in Global arena. There is no doubt that SEZ has become an absolute necessity. But, if the SEZ have to be fuctioning properly, the Government should address the concern of People. If Government would fail to address the People's concern, it might win in short term. But, there need not be any doubt that India will become a Yet Another Srilanka...