Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has circulated a draft of Indian Ports Bill 2020 for public consultation which will repeal and replace the Indian Ports Act, 1908 (Act No. 15 of 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 utilization of the Indian Coastline by effective administration and management of ports.
The proposed Bill will provide measures to facilitate the conservation of ports, taking into account the prevalent situation with respect to the high number of non-operational ports. It shall further 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.
The Bill also seeks to, inter alia, create an enabling environment for the growth and sustained development of the ports sector in India through the following broad methods:
- Constitution of Maritime Port Regulatory Authority
- Formulation of the National Port policy and National Port plan in consultation with Coastal State Governments, State Maritime Boards, and other stakeholders.
- Formulation of specialized Adjudicatory Tribunals namely 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 the 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 Bill seeks 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 agencies and bodies to plan and enable the growth of the ports sector. Enhancing “Ease of Doing Business’, will provide greater impetus to a self-reliant domestic investment climate in the maritime sector, towards Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiatives of the Government.
Minister of State (I/C)Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Mansukh Mandaviya, said, “We are working on the creation of a National Port Grid. This Bill will be a game-changer in the Indian maritime sector especially for bringing more investments. The Bill will bolster structured growth and sustained development of Ports and ensure achieving this objective on a fast track basis. Consequently, it will result in revolutionary maritime reforms transmuting the Indian maritime set-up entirely in the times to come.”