Book Review: Arpita Mukherjee, Parthapratim Pal, Saubhik Deb, Subhobroto Ray and Tanu M. Goyal, Special Economic Zones in India: Status, Issues and Potential

Date01 August 2017
AuthorDebashis Chakraborty
Publication Date01 August 2017
SubjectBook Review
Book Review
Arpita Mukherjee, Parthapratim Pal, Saubhik Deb, Subhobroto Ray
and Tanu M. Goyal, Special Economic Zones in India: Status, Issues
and Potential. New Delhi: Springer, 2016, €139.99/-, pp. 254, ISBN:
India embarked on the path of the export-oriented growth strategy from 1991
onwards and relied primarily on export promotion through multilateral route up to
the Cancun Ministerial (2003) meeting of WTO. Afterwards, it has entered into a
number of regional trade agreements (RTAs), located both within and outside
Asia, with export promotion as one of the driving motive. Domestically also it has
tried to promote exports by attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), energizing
special economic zones (SEZs) with economic incentives, improving the doing
business environment by enhancing procedural transparency and so on.
Export processing zones (EPZs) in India had a long history, finally making
ways to the SEZs. The SEZs have become particularly important in present
context, given the recent ‘Make-in-India’ drive, geared to energize the domestic
manufacturing sector with foreign investment and participation in global value
chains (GVCs). In addition, the service sector SEZs, particularly in IT sector,
are also playing a crucial role. However, the SEZ performance is not laudable
uniformly across all sectors. In this context, the recent volume authored by
Mukherjee et al. is a well-structured and timely contribution to the literature,
which analyzes the pertinent as well as emerging concerns involving India.
The introductory chapter discusses the importance of the SEZs in the Indian
context and their role in securing economic development, for example, industri-
alization, job creation, channelizing focused investments in physical and social
infrastructure, improvement in trade balance. Despite policy support, concern
areas, however, abound, namely existence of many non-operational SEZs,
growing requests for de-notification of SEZs, failure to bring new investments
and so on.
The poor performance of the Indian SEZs necessitates the requirement to learn
from the experience of other countries, where the policy has delivered desired
objectives. The second chapter compares the SEZ policies prevalent in India with
the same in select East and Southeast Asian countries. It is observed that while the
Asian SEZs provide a strong push to attract FDI through acts and policies, the
Indian framework instead focus on generic objectives like employment creation
and production expansion, without distinguishing between SEZs and industrial
Foreign Trade Review
52(3) 200–202
2017 Indian Institute of
Foreign Trade
SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/0015732517706298

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