Rajya Sabha clears Major Port Authorities Bill to replace existing Port Trusts Act

Rajya Sabha on Wednesday gave a go ahead to the Major Ports Authorities Bill 2020, to repeal the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963.

The landmark bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha in September last year, seeks to provide for regulation, operation and planning of 12 major ports in the country and provide greater autonomy to these ports. 

The new bill aims at reorienting governance model in central ports and empower them with full autonomy in decision making. This step will not only help in bringing transparency and efficiency in operations at major ports but will also modernise the institutional framework and infuse professionalism with decentralized decision making.

According to the Minister of State for Ports, Mansukh L. Mandaviya, the new bill will bring India’s Major Ports at par with the major world-class ports.

The Major Ports Authorities Bill passed by the Rajya Sabha is indeed a revolutionary move in the Indian Ports Sector. The bill will provide regulation, flexibility and self-governance to the Major Ports of the country. It will develop a faster and transparent decision-making process, which will help in the growth and development of Major Ports thereby enabling them to compete in the evolving market environment. Also, the move will certainly pave way for driving the country’s vision towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat and making India – A Global Manufacturing Hub.”

~ Rajiv Agarwal, CEO & MD, Essar Ports

The salient features of the Major Port Authorities Bill 2020

•  Port Authority has now been given powers to fix tariff which will act as a reference tariff for purposes of bidding for PPP projects. PPP operators will be free to fix tariff- based on market conditions. The Board of Port Authority has been delegated the power to fix the scale of rates for other port services and assets including land.

• An Adjudicatory Board has been proposed to be created to carry out the residual function of the erstwhile TAMP for Major Ports, to look into disputes between ports and PPP concessionaires, to review stressed PPP projects and suggest measures to review stressed PPP projects and suggest measures to revive such projects and to look into complaints regarding services rendered by the ports/ private operators operating within the ports.

• The Boards of Port Authority have been delegated full powers to enter into contracts, planning and development, fixing of tariff except in national interest, security and emergency arising out of inaction and default. In the present MPT Act, 1963 prior approval of the Central Government was required in 22 instances.

• The Board of each Major Port shall be entitled to create specific master plan in respect of any development or infrastructure.

• Provisions of CSR & development of infrastructure by Port Authority have been introduced.

• Provision has been made for safeguarding the pay & allowances and service conditions including pensionary benefits of the employees of major ports.

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