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ISID’s session at ILDC 2021

Role of SEZs in India’s Industrialisation:
Challenges and Opportunities

November 24, 2021 at 13:30-15:00 hrs (IST) (online mode)

Concept Note

The Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are policy-led industrial agglomerations that have been established in different countries around the world. SEZs have contributed significantly to industrial and economic development in many countries by helping to attract export-oriented investments from global and domestic investors. The UNCTAD’s World Investment Report (2019) has documented the role that SEZs have played in attracting investments, leveraging the global value chains (GVCs), boosting exports, creating job opportunities, and promoting economic development of the host countries.

India’s experience with SEZs, however, has not been impressive in terms of fostering industrial development, job creation and economic growth. Although the number of SEZs notified in various states increased manifolds, since the implementation of the SEZ Act 2005, it did not translate into a corresponding growth of economic activities thus leaving over half of the land acquired under the SEZ Act remaining unutilized till 2014. Therefore, the implementation of the SEZ scheme in India needs to be analyzed and discussed to bring out the policy lessons for reforms. The issues that need to be discussed among stakeholders include those relating to land acquisition, regional disparities, labour, environmental factors, tax treatment, attractiveness to FDI, among others.

At this Special Session organized in the context of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, ISID seeks to provide a forum for debate among academics, policy makers and zone operators, and private sector representatives to analyze the challenges that Indian SEZs have faced and the measures that can be taken by the government and other stakeholders to fully exploit their potential. The key questions that would be addressed by the Session include:

  1. What role have the SEZs played in India’s industrial and economic growth since their inception?
  2. What are the challenges for the future industrial growth through SEZs and industrial corridors?
  3. What are the key lessons from success stories in other countries?
  4. What are the key policy lessons for India’s SEZ Policy for achieving greater success? 

Moderator: Prof. Nagesh Kumar, Director, ISID, New Delhi


  • Prof. Aradhna Agarwal, Professor, Department of International economics, Government and Business, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark


  • Mr Srikanth Badiga, Vice President, Export Promotion Council of Export-Oriented Units and SEZs (EPCES) and Director, Phoenix Group
  • Mr Bipin Menon, Development Commissioner, NOIDA SEZ
  • Dr Malini Tantri, Assistant Professor, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bengaluru
  • Dr Ramaa Arun Kumar, Assistant Professor, ISID

Open discussion


To participate virtually please fill out the online registration form.