Economy

Covid-19: Centre ease compliance norms for SEZs during lock-down

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 30, 2020

Letter of Approvals that expire to be extended; relaxation on filing of progress report

Taking into account the constraints faced by Special Economic Zone (SEZ) units and developers in their operations during the on-going lockdown to control Covid-19 spread, the government has extended relaxations on various compliances including filing of periodic progress reports and extension of letters of approval.

“In view of the sudden outbreak of Covid‐19 pandemic and the nation‐wide lockdown, most government offices are closed and a few involved in emergency services are functioning with skeletal staff.

“The Department of Commerce has therefore decided to provide suitable relaxations on compliances to be met by units/developers/co‐developers of SEZ,” according to an internal note circulated to all development commissioners (DCs) of the zones.

The relaxations will apply on the requirements to file quarterly progress report attested by independent chartered engineers by developers/co‐developers, filling of SOFTEX form by IT/ITES units and filing of annual performance reports by SEZ units.

“There will also be extension of Letter of Approvals which may expire, in the cases of developers/co‐developers who are in the process of developing and operationalising the SEZ, units which are likely to complete their five-year block for Net Foreign Exchange assessment and units which are yet to commence operations,” as per the note.

DCs of SEZs have been directed to ensure that no hardship is caused to developers, co‐developers and units and no punitive action is taken in cases where any compliance is not met during the lockdown period.

To the extent possible, all extensions of LoAs and other compliances should be facilitated through electronic mode in a time‐bound manner, the note stated.

In the cases where it is not possible to grant extension through electronic mode or in cases where a physical meeting is required, DCs have been asked to ensure that developers and units do not face any hardship due to expiry of validity during this period of disruption.

“Ad‐hoc interim extension/deferment of the expiry date may be granted without prejudice till June 30 2020 or further instructions of the Department on the matter, whichever is earlier,” the note said.

Published on March 30, 2020

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