Critically analyze the effectiveness of the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in the country. How far has their objectives been achieved?
The Special economic Zones in the country were planned with a number of higher goals and objectives. But over the period of time, the social and economic costs of these zones have increased to such a large extent that today a number of people are affected directly by these zones. Unfortunately, most of the affected people are the poor and the landless.
The land acquired for the Special economic Zones are most often the fertile agricultural lands. A report has shown that almost 80% of these lands still remain unused which once belonged to the poor, the tribal people and dalits. Often the land acquisition act has been misused to displace these people from their own lands.
Unfortunately, the State Governments have acted as the facilitators, negotiators on behalf of the corporates and the industries to acquire land. These lands have often been acquired in the name of Special economic Zones and later de-notified and sold at higher rates.
It was believed that the areas of establishment of the Special economic Zones would facilitate employment opportunities. But records show that these areas still lack employment. The Special economic Zones were supposed to create skilled jobs, which has not been the case even today.
One more issue related to the Special economic Zones is that the groundwater in these areas are prioritized and deviated towards SEZs instead of the agricultural farms. The Special economic Zones often drain the ground water resources leaving the locals deprived of it.
The effectiveness of the Special economic Zones has remained very low. If it impacts the food production and agriculture plus resources like water, then it does more harm than good. Food security is the basic necessity in the country and no policy can override it. There is a need to review the policy on Special economic Zones so that proper implementation of laws can be done to prevent their misuse.