Modi govt plans 14 mega job zones to give employment to 1 crore youth
The Modi government has long been criticised for jobless growth, especially after making it a key electoral promise back in 2014. In a bid to address this issue, the Centre is reportedly firming up plans to provide direct and indirect jobs to one crore youth over the next three years.
According to The Economic Times, the proposal envisages setting up 14 national employment zones in the coastal states under the special purpose vehicle route, and is expected to be rolled out ahead of general elections next year, when employment generation is sure to emerge as a key issue. The plans are currently being shaped by the shipping ministry in consultation with think-tank NITI Aayog.
Citing sources the daily added that the mega employment zones will enjoy fiscal and non-fiscal incentives like tax holidays, capital subsidy and single-window clearance among others, linked directly to the number of jobs created by firms willing to set up manufacturing bases there.
"These zones will have 35 industrial clusters across sectors like food, cement, furniture and electronics besides traditional labour intensive sectors like garments, leather and gems and jewellery," said a source. "Shipping ministry has moved a note to the expenditure finance committee (EFC) for approval following which a cabinet note will be floated for inter-ministerial consultation."
As per initial estimates, setting up the requisite infrastructure in these zones would require an investment of Rs 1 lakh crore, which will be shared by the Centre and states. In addition, the identified coastal states will reportedly provide at least 2,000 acres of contiguous land for setting up the employment zones.
Going forward, India may also seek funding from multilateral agencies for this ambitious project since the zones are expected to attract an investment of up to Rs 4 lakh crore.
An important advantage of locating the zones near the coast is that they are likely to attract large firms interested in serving the export markets. Granting infrastructure status to these employment zones will further help companies flocking in to get long-term easy finance, including cheaper foreign currency funding.