Commerce minister Kamal Nath said: “The rules have been vetted and are ready for notification.” Any changes to the rules would require parliament’s approval. Apart from providing a stable policy regime, the zones are intended to increase foreign investment. Exports from the zones are projected at $5bn in 2005-06, from the 948 units operating in them.

The SEZ policy promises much simpler procedures for setting up and conducting business in India, but it will not ease labour laws, despite calls from some states for relaxation on this front.