Announcement by Ministry of Commerce; SEZ to go online on October 15 2010 (New Delhi, Sept 27 2010, Deccan Herald News Service)

In a bid to promote growth of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) — fast emerging as major contributors to country’s export turnover — the Commerce Ministry will launch SEZ Online on October 15 to expedite all sorts clearances required for setting up as well as operation of units in SEZ.

“The SEZ Online will come into operation from October 15. Through this web-based system exporters can sort out all their problems ranging from setting up units in the SEZ to shipment without any paper work involving least possible time,” says Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, D K Mittal.

SEZ Online will enable electronic processing of SEZ related transactions that SEZ Developers, Co-Developers, Units, Export Oriented Units and Deemed Exporters have with SEZ administration, Mittal told Deccan Herald explaining the features of the new electronic system

“This web-based system provides value added services to all entities in a SEZ and strives for reduction in cycle time for request processing and bring in transparency to all stakeholders of a SEZ,” he said.

SEZ online will facilitate online clearance of both imports and exports by the Development Commissioner of SEZ, which in turn will “significantly” reduce the cost and time, Mittal said. As a part of the e-Governance initiative, the Commerce Ministry last year initiated the process of putting in place SEZ Online to automate SEZ transactions.

For this purpose, the Commerce Ministry entered into a formal agreement with NSDL Database Management Limited (NDML) for establishing and managing a nationwide integrated solution for administration of SEZs spread across the country along with the Bangalore-based IT solution provider Infosys. Through SEZ Online system the exporting community will now be in a position to know the status of their various requests filed with the Development Commissioner over the Internet, Mittal said.

The introduction of the online system is expected to avoid loss of time, energy, cost and effort on account of visits to the Office of the Development Commissioner for these purposes, he said.

Itroduction of SEZ Online will make compliance reporting like submission of Quarterly and Annual Performance Reports by the units operating in SEZ “quite simple” and will minimize need for multiple clarifications with the office of DC. “This online facility will ensure that the interaction with the office of DC will be online and the users will receive online alerts (email / SMS) for any exception which will help to resolve the issues with minimum delay,” he said.

Significantly, the system will have a record of all the interactions which any end user has had with the DC’s office. The system will also have a repository of all the transactions with the DC’s office with respect to material movement within the SEZ. The Centre has so far accorded formal approvals to as many as 577 SEZ projects, out of which 363 have been notified. So far a sum of over Rs 1,66,526 crore have been invested in the SEZs generating over 5.5 lakh jobs.