The SEZ issue is being highlighted as a farmers' issue, with a rehabilitation policy being worked out for those who will lose their land. But with 80% of approved SEZs in coastal states, what about the thousands of fisherfolk who will lose livelihoods based on the sea, estuaries and coastal systems?
China's Shenzhen has workers slaving for 9-14 hours a day at less than minimum wages, 500,000 child labourers, and a crime rate nine times that of Shanghai. Is this the economic model Indian policymakers want to emulate, especially at a time when China itself has discredited and abandoned its SEZ policy?
From the mid-'80s, China experienced a 'zone fever' much like India's, with millions of hectares of agricultural land being transferred to infrastructure and industrial use. But Beijing woke up in time to the dangers of the speculative bubble thus created and acted to conserve arable lands
Could the Magarpatta model in Pune be a way out of the SEZ impasse? Here farmers have leased - not sold -- 400 acres of farmland to developers who are paying them a royalty in perpetuity, besides giving them new housing in the township and various kinds of supply contracts
The viewpoint rapidly gaining ground in India is that labour must inevitably transfer from agriculture to industry and services, as happened in the now developed countries. But there are three strong reasons why a replication of these processes in an Indian setting is unlikely, even impossible