Infrastructure Status to Convention Centres

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

Background:

  • 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.

What are Exhibition-cum-Convention Centres?

  • ‘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 Master List?

  • The list is notified by the Ministry of Finance and included following categories:
  • Transport and Logistics: Roads and bridges, Inland waterways, Airport, etc.
  • Energy: Electricity Generation, Electricity Transmission, etc.
  • Water and Sanitation: Solid Waste Management, Water treatment plants, etc.
  • Communication: Telecommunication, etc.
  • Social and Commercial Infrastructure: Education Institutions (capital stock), Sports Infrastructure, Hospitals (capital stock), Tourism infrastructure, etc.
  • Inclusion in the list implies access to concessional funds, promotion of projects and continuity of construction for the specified sub-sectors. However, the infrastructure tag now does not include vital tax breaks.