The government has given more time to 20 SEZ developers, including Tata Consultancy Services and Mahindra World City, to execute their projects.
At a meeting on January 14, the Board of Approval (BoA) headed by Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar also allowed four SEZ developers to surrender their projects.
The BoA is a 19-member inter-ministerial body that deals with Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and related issues.
However, the developers surrendering their projects have to obtain a certificate from the respective Development Commissioners that "they have refunded all the tax/duty benefits availed under SEZ Act/Rules," a senior Commerce Ministry official said.
SEZ developers, including Medicaps IT Park Pvt Ltd and State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand, had approached the BoA to surrender their projects.
They have cited global economic uncertainty as the reason for quitting their export-focused projects.
"It will not be financially feasible to develop the SEZ due to ongoing uncertainties in the global economy," one developer that had requested the withdrawal of approval for its IT/ITeS SEZ in Maharashtra said in its application.
"... Due to the present market scenario, it does not seem possible to implement the project," Medicaps IT Park Pvt Ltd said in its request.
According to an industry expert, uncertainty over whether new SEZs will be eligible for tax exemptions - which are proposed to be confined to existing units in the latest draft of the Direct Taxes Code Bill - has dampened interest in the enclaves.
The developers that got more time to implement their projects include Genpact Infrastructure (Jaipur) and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd for their IT/ITeS zone in Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, respectively.
Parsvnath SEZ Ltd also got one more year to develop its biotechnology SEZ for in Andhra Pradesh. With this, over 200 SEZ developers have got additional time to implement their projects.
The BoA also approved three new proposals, including one from Mahindra World City (Jaipur) Ltd, to set up SEZs. So far, 580 SEZs have been formally approved by the BoA, of which 114 are in operation.
SEZs have emerged as major sources of attracting investment and increasing exports. SEZs contributed 35 per cent to the country's exports revenue in 2009-10.
Exports from these zones stood at Rs 1,39,841 crore in April-September, 2010-11, as against Rs 89,750 crore in the same period last fiscal.
Shipments from SEZs increased from Rs 22,840 crore in 2005-06 to Rs 2,20,711 crore in 2009-10.