New policy on polluting units

Jakarta: India will keep polluting industries out of proposed mega industrial towns aimed at boosting the share of manufacturing in the country`s Gross Domestic Product, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said here on Wednesday."What is being proposed is… from the perspective of investing in green technologies. We are very clear that the Schedule A industries will be kept out of the proposed industrial towns. We don`t want polluting industries… Rest is for the states to do," Sharma told PTI in an interview.

The Commerce and Industry Minister, who was here for the Indonesia-India Biennial Trade Ministers` Forum meeting, said, "The manufacturing policy will be transformative for India." However, the proposed policy has been delayed due to differences between the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) under Sharma`s charge and the ministries of environment and labour.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has granted `in-principle` approval to the policy, has put the onus on the Group of Ministers to form a consensus on the issue. The ministers` group is headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.

While the discussion paper floated by the DIPP has suggested the relaxation of environment and labour laws, the concerned ministries were not in favour of the idea. "These are few minor issues, not fundamental. The impression that anything is being done to harm labour is not true. In fact, the policy is far more progressive. There is no change of any law or statute, which is required either in labour or environment. I am sure the GoM will take a considered view. We are using the word, `greenfield integrated township`. I think that speaks for itself," he said.

Sharma said the fundamental concerns over the low share of manufacturing in the GDP have to be addressed if the country has to create new jobs. The policy envisages the creation of 100 million new jobs by 2020. "The issue is not of environment… That is the running theme. It is of delays and controls," he said, drawing attention to the fact that if steps were not taken to boost manufacturing in India, "Where will the jobs come from?"

The policy aims at increasing the share of the manufacturing sector in the GDP to 25 per cent from 16 per cent at present. The minister also made it clear that unlike Special Economic Zones, the number of mega industrial enclaves would not be more than four-five. China has 70 mega manufacturing townships and "look at the number that Germany and Japan did", he said. .