The government has allowed IT and ITeS special economic zones to set up disaster recovery centres outside their limits at any part of the country, meeting the long-pending demand of the industry.
Issuing the guidelines for setting up of disaster recovery centres (DRC) and business continuity plan (BCP) for IT/ITeS special economic zones, the Commerce and Industry Ministry said the locations for such facilities will be approved by the respective development commissioner.
"The DRC/BCP location will be approved by the development commissioner (DC) on an application made by the SEZ unit. Such approval will allow the unit to relocate its operations, data and employees to the DRC/BCP location upon the occurrence of a disaster," it said.
However, it said that as this activity is envisaged as a purely internal exercise to be carried out across branches of the same SEZ entity to ensure that business continuity, there will be no commercial activity involved and accordingly, no commercial invoice will be raised in such movement of data, operations and employees.
"It was a long pending demand of the industry. IT/ITeS SEZs need such facilities at the time of any type of disasters. It will certainly help the sector," an official said.
Prevention and creating data back up is an integral part of the sectors' DR/BCP strategy.
"The data are regularly backed up at locations which are isolated from the main business centres to prevent loss in the event of a disaster. This would entail movement of data from SEZ to a DR/BCP location outside the SEZ and movement of storage media back into the zone," it said.
It also said that movement of data from outside the zone would not be treated as exports besides a record of movement of magnetic, storage tapes and devices would be maintained at the tax free enclave.
However, the unit would have to pay necessary duty on the tapes and storage tapes on which the data is being moved.
It said that the back up location where the "devices are moved could be a location under another SEZ or export oriented units i.e. a bonded secured location".
Further, the guidelines have comprehensively defined the term 'disaster' and has classified it into categories - natural and manmade. The manmade disasters include hazardous material spills, infrastructure failure or bio-terrorism.
It has also provided norms for setting up of these centres by a third party client.
The move assumes significance as out of over 160 operational SEZs, about half of them relate to IT/ITeS SEZs.