The commerce ministry on Monday said lease rent for units in the government-owned special economic zones (SEZs) will not be increased for 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a move which will provide relief to these facilities.
It also said that payment of lease rent for the first quarter is deferred up to July 31 for all SEZ units and the deferment would not invite any interest.
The ministry said that after consulting the proposal with Department of Expenditure, these relief measures were decided for SEZ units on account of COVID-19 outbreak.
"There will be "no increase in lease rent of the SEZ units for 2020-21," it said.
Further, it asked development commissioners of other SEZs to advise SEZ developers of state governments and privately-owned zones to consider similar relief measures.
"DCs are requested to advise developers of state government/private SEZs to consider similar relief measures in their zones," it added.
There are seven government-owned SEZs which are located in Kandla, Chennai, Falta, Cochin, Noida, Santacruz and Visakhapatnam.
All the zones are under the supervision of a development commissioner (DC).
A DC said this is a welcome step by the government and it will help units at a time when they are struggling to deal with the lockdown imposed due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
After the imposition of lockdown from March 25, all units are closed, barring food and pharma related facilities which have been allowed to operate during the period.
An industry expert said that depending upon zone to zone, generally the rent is increased by 7-10 per cent annually.
SEZs are major export hubs in the country as the government provides several incentives and single-window clearance system for them.
Exports from SEZs rose 14.5 per cent to Rs 3.82 lakh crore in April-September 2019-20. It was Rs 7.02 lakh crore in entire 2018-19 financial year.