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Lok Sabha Passes Bill to Provide Greater Autonomy to 12 Major Ports and Professionalise Governance

File photo of  Union minister Mansukh L Mandaviya. (Credit: news18)

File photo of Union minister Mansukh L Mandaviya. (Credit: news18)

India has 12 major ports — Deendayal (erstwhile Kandla), Mumbai, JNPT, Marmugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Kamarajar (earlier Ennore), V O Chidambarnar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia).

Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed a bill that seeks to provide greater autonomy in decision-making to 12 major ports in the country and professionalise their governance by setting up boards. The Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020, seeks to repeal the Major Port Trusts Act of 1963.

The bill aims to provide for regulation, operation and planning of major ports in India and to vest the administration, control and management of such ports upon the boards of major port authorities and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto, be taken into consideration. "This would enable our ports to become world class and enable board to take decision on their own," Shipping Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said while relying to debate on the bill.

In terms of volume, 70 per cent of cargo movement is through ports while 90 per cent in value terms. Replying to concerns raised by opposition, the minister said interest of all employees and pensioners would be safeguarded. With a view to promoting expansion of port infrastructure and facilitate trade and commerce, the measure aims at decentralising decision-making and aims to infusing professionalism in the governance of ports. It would also help impart faster and transparent decision-making, benefiting the stakeholders and better project execution capability.

India has 12 major ports — Deendayal (erstwhile Kandla), Mumbai, JNPT, Marmugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Kamarajar (earlier Ennore), V O Chidambarnar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia). These together had handled 699.04 million tonnes (MT) of cargo during 2018-19. The bill is aimed at reorienting the governance model in central ports to landlord port model in line with the successful global practice, it said and added, this will also help in bringing transparency in operations of major ports.

The minister further said that the proposed bill has been prepared after extensive consultation with all the stakeholders and Ministries/Departments after taking into account the recommendations of a parliamentary standing committee. He said the bill is more compact in comparison to the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 as the number of sections has been reduced to 76 from 134 by eliminating overlapping and obsolete Sections.

The role of Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) has been redefined as Port Authority has now been given powers to fix tariff, which will act as a reference tariff for purposes of bidding for PPP (public private partnership) projects. The Board of the Port Authority has been delegated the power to fix the scale of rates for other port services and assets including land, he said.

The Boards of the Port Authority have been delegated full powers to enter into contracts, planning and development, he said. Earlier, the bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2016 and thereafter referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC). The PSC, after taking evidence and wide-spread consultations, submitted its report in July 2017. Based on this, the Ministry of Shipping introduced the official amendment to the Bill in the Lok Sabha in 2018. However, the Bill got lapsed after the dissolution of previous Lok Sabha.


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