English_Master February 23, 2016 No Comments
SEZ: A TIPPING POINT Budhadeb Bhattacharjee, chief minister of West Ben­gal, must wonder what he did in his previous life to deserve Mamata Banerjee in this one. All his good work to make Ben­gal attractive to investors is beginning to unravel. Companies have begun to shy away from Bengal for safer, more attrac­tive destinations. After Mamata threatened a few weeks ago to pull down their boundary wall, even the Tatas are worried ‘and must rue their decision to build a car factory in Bengal. Most Indians, however, are confused by this debate, espe­cially this animal called Special Economic Zones (SEZs). SEZs are export zones to get around the problem of our bad infrastructure. Why do we need special zones – why not reform the whole country? It is not easy to reform in a de­mocracy with vested interests; at our current pace it will take 20 years to get there, and by then we shall lose another gen­eration. But why restrict SEZs to exports? In an open economy with low tariffs, shouldn’t domestic activity be as valuable as exports, especially when we have plenty of foreign exchange reserves? True, but history teaches that industrial revolutions in all countries were led by exports. No country, not even China, has a...
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