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 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.