Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways issues draft ports bill for public consultation

The Centre on Friday announced that it has issued a draft ports bill for public consultation that aims at bringing more investment in the maritime sector.

The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has circulated the draft of Indian Ports Bill 2020 for public consultation, which will repeal and replace the Indian Ports Act, 1908.

“The draft Indian Ports Bill, 2020, seeks to, inter alia, enable the structured growth and sustainable development of ports to attract investments in the port sector for optimum utilisation of the Indian coastline by effective administration and management of ports,” the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways said in a statement.

Also read: Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways issues Draft Merchant Shipping Bill, 2020

As per the statement, the proposed bill will provide measures to facilitate conservation of ports, taking into account the prevalent situation with respect to the high number of non-operational ports.

Further, it added that it shall ensure greater investment in the Indian maritime and ports sector through the creation of improved, comprehensive regulatory frameworks for the creation of new ports and management of existing ports.

“We are working on the creation of a National Port Grid. This Bill will be a game changer in the Indian maritime sector specially for bringing more investments. The Bill will bolster structured growth and sustained development of ports and ensure achieving this objective on fast track basis. Consequently, it will result into revolutionary maritime reforms transmuting the Indian maritime set-up entirely in the times to come.”

~Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways

The new ports bill also seeks to, inter alia, create an enabling environment for the growth and sustained development of the ports sector in India through constitution of Maritime Port Regulatory Authority and formulation of the National Port policy and National Port plan in consultation with Coastal State Governments, State Maritime Boards and other stakeholders.

Also, it looks to formulate specialised Adjudicatory Tribunals – Maritime Ports Tribunal and Maritime Ports Appellate Tribunal to curb any anti-competitive practices in the port sector and act as a speedy and affordable grievance redressal mechanism.

“The up-to-date provisions of the proposed Bill would ensure safety, security, pollution control, performance standards and sustainability of Ports. The Bill ensures that all up-to-date conventions /protocols to which India is a party, are also suitably incorporated. This will promote marine safety and security in the true sense. The Bill will fill up the gaps for achieving scientific development of Ports and Port Network,” the statement said.

The Bill aims to provide increased opportunities for public and private investments in the Indian maritime and ports sector by way of removing barriers to entry, simplifying processes and establishment of agencies and bodies to plan and enable growth of the ports sector.

By enhancing ‘Ease of Doing Business’, it will provide greater impetus to a self-reliant domestic investment climate in the maritime sector towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiatives of the government, the statement said.

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