IT-specific SEZs to turn India into telecom hub

NEW DELHI: With the number of telecom-specific Special Economic Zones in the country going up to over 50 within the next year, the country will take another step towards becoming a telecom manufacturing hub.The commerce and industry ministry has already notified 42 sector specific Special Economic Zones (SEZs) for Electronic Hardware and Information Technology including Information Technology Enabled Services (IT/ITES) under the provisions of the SEZ Act 2005, adding to the nine already functioning in different parts of the country.

Of the 42, the largest number of ten SEZs would be in Andhra Pradesh, followed by nine in Tamil Nadu, eight in Karnataka, three each in Kerala and Maharashtra, two each in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, and one each in Chandigarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, and West Bengal.The nine already existing include seven which are IT/ITES specific and two – Nokia SEZ and Flextronics SEZ – deal in electronic hardware. In addition, the Moser-Baer SEZ in NOIDA is dealing with Solar Cells which will also come in useful to IT. The IT/ITES specific SEZ are: Mahindra IT, Wipro, ETL Infrastructure, Rajiv Gandhi IT Park in Chandigarh, WIPRO Electronic City, WIPRO Limited Sarjapur, and Biocon Limited in Bangalore.

These are among the 31 SEZ – ten of them multi-product - already operational in the country as on 31 March, and include those which were established prior to the SEZ Act 2005. Commerce and industry ministry sources told that the total export earning from IT/ITES SEZs was Rs 26.82 billion during 2006-07. Nokia led the Electronic Hardware SEZs with exports to the tune of Rs 16.49 billion. Communications and information technology ministry sources added that an ‘Export Promotion Forum’ was also being set up under the aegis of the Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association of India to promote export of telecom equipment and services.

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