The shipping ministry on Thursday sought stakeholders’ feedback on the revised draft of the Indian Ports Bill, which aims to promote ease of doing business by eliminating unnecessary delays and defining responsibilities.
The Bill also seeks to homogenise and streamline the development of the maritime sector.
The proposed Bill will incorporate State Maritime Boards in the national framework, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) said in a statement.
Additionally, the Maritime State Development Council will ensure cooperative federalism where the Centre and state/UT governments will work together towards preparing a progressive road map for the country, it added.
The redundant provisions of the Act have been deleted or replaced with contemporaneous provisions, as per the statement.
Further, existing penalties in the Act which are outdated have been updated concerning amounts and offences relevant to present-day scenarios, it noted.
Three earlier versions of the Bill were circulated by the ministry to various stakeholders, including major ports, states governments, state maritime Boards and various central government ministries, the statement said, adding that the draft IP Bill, 2022, has been formulated keeping in view all remarks that have been received.
As per the statement, the proposed Bill has been prepared to consolidate and amend the laws relating to ports, for the prevention and containment of pollution at ports, to ensure compliance with the country’s obligation under the maritime treaties and international instruments to which India is a party.
It also aims to address lacunae in the dispute resolution framework required for the burgeoning ports sector.
The Indian Ports Act, 1908, is more than 110 years old. It has become imperative that the Act is revamped to reflect the present-day frameworks, incorporate India’s international obligations, and address emerging environmental concerns.
According to the statement, the primary objectives of the proposed bill include promoting integrated planning between states inter-se and Centre-states through a purely consultative and recommendatory framework and usher in transparency and cooperation in the development and other aspects through the use of data.
Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal said that this bill will help in instilling confidence among more players thereby increasing their participation and promoting healthy competition in the maritime sector.
He said this will lead to increased economic activity, wider markets, and a significant increase in associated employment possibilities.
India has a 7,500 km long coastline, 14,500 km of potentially navigable waterways and a strategic location on key international maritime trade routes.
About 95 per cent of India’s trade by volume and 65 per cent by value is done through maritime transport facilitated by ports.
The ministry invited comments from stakeholders till August 30, 2022.