Industrial Sector Updates – Industrial Policy, Ease of Doing Business, etc.

FinMin grants ‘infrastructure’ status for convention centres


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Harmonized Master list

Mains level: Infrastructure sector

The Finance Ministry has granted ‘Infrastructure’ status for exhibition and convention centres, a move that is expected to ease bank financing for such projects.

Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre

  • ‘Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre is included in the Harmonized Master List of Infrastructure sub-sectors by insertion of a new item in the category of Social and Commercial Infrastructure.
  • The benefits available as ‘infrastructure’ projects would only be available for projects with a minimum built-up floor area of 1,00,000 square metres of exclusive exhibition space or convention space or both combined.
  • This includes primary facilities such as exhibition centres, convention halls, auditoriums, plenary halls, business centres, meeting halls etc.
  • As of now, the major projects underway in the sector are backed by the government – the International Exhibition-cum-Convention Centres at Dwarka as well as Pragati Maidan in the capital.

What is the Master List?

  • The Harmonized Master list approved by the cabinet committee on infrastructure has five main sectors and 29 infra subsectors.
  • The five sectors include transport, energy, water sanitation, communication and social and commercial infrastructure.
  • The infra tag allows certain benefits including access to easier borrowings overseas, the ability to raise funds through tax-free bonds, tax concessions, and access to dedicated lenders such as IIFCL, and the debt funds.
  • Last August, the government had added affordable rental housing projects to the list of sectors recognised as infrastructure.

Benefits of the move

  • The infrastructure tag no longer involves significant tax breaks but would help such projects get easier financing from banks, said experts.
  • India doesn’t have large convention centres or single halls with capacities to hold 7,000 to 10,000 people, unlike countries like Thailand that is a major global MICE-destination.
  • Becoming a MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) destination can generate significant revenue with several global companies active in India but it will take time to become a preferred destination.

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