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Economic impacts of SEZs: Theoretical approaches and analysis of newly notified SEZs in India

Aggarwal, Aradhna (2010): Economic impacts of SEZs: Theoretical approaches and analysis of newly notified SEZs in India.

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Abstract

This study aims at examining the economic impacts of SEZs in the Indian context. While doing so, it addresses the conceptual confusion about SEZs, outlines the evolution of SEZs; traces economic philosophies explaining the rationale and benefits of SEZs; extends existing theoretical literature to explain the economic impacts of SEZs; assesses the economic impacts of newly notified SEZs in India; reviews the strategies followed by various state governments in the implementation of the policy ; and draws policy implications. It argues that the existing economic theories donot adequately explain the rationale and contribution of SEZs. These approaches need to be extended by integrating the provisions of the theories of agglomeration economies and global value chains within the existing theoretical frameworks. It analyses the economic impacts of SEZs within the extended theoretical framework. It finds that while SEZs are stimulating direct investment and employment, their role appears to be more valuable in bringing about economic transformation from a resource-led economy to a skill and technology-led economy; from low value added economic activities to high value added economic activities; from low productive sectors to high productive sectors; and from unorganised to organized sectors, both at the national and regional levels. They have the potential of promoting new knowledge intensive industries; augmenting existing industrial clusters/industrial states; diversifying the local industrial base; and localizing global value chain. However, a strategic approach is required to reap the opportunities offered by SEZs.

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