‘Shipping ministry revamping archaic acts within next six months’

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With a view to simplify the statutory provisions in the shipping sector, the Centre is in the process of revamping archaic acts and will introduce the same in Parliament in next six months, Mr Rajive Kumar, secretary, shipping ministry said at an ASSOCHAM event.

“We are relooking at most of our acts some of which are more than 100 years old and we expect that in the next 6 months we should be able to revamp and introduce in the Parliament all the major acts which this ministry is concerned with, be it the major ports act, merchant shipping act, doing away with damp and so on,” said Mr Kumar while inaugurating 5th International Summit on ‘Infrastructure Finance-Bridging the gap,’ organised by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

He informed that National Perspective Plan (NPP) for government’s ambitious Sagarmala project is likely to be ready by about end of next month.

“Under the Sagarmala programme, for the first time in the country, we are getting an OD study done of more than 80 per cent of our total cargo, which will optimise what should be our transportation mode because we acknowledge and know that this number of 14 and 16 per cent of the cost is substantially higher than what our economy can afford,” said Mr Kumar.

“So we expect by end-January or mid-February we will have this complete national perspective plan ready for the Sagarmala programme,” he added.

“The most important component of Sagarmala is coastal community development, we are getting coastal regional development plans so that local population is also taken along while other plans are put in place,” informed Mr Kumar.

The shipping secretary also said that ministry was in the process of decking up 106 new waterways to be studied as national waterways. “There would be a large number of components where investment opportunities would be available.”

He also said that shipping ministry was in the process for revising model concession agreement.

On the issue of resolution mechanism, Mr Kumar said “30 years is a long enough time to be fixated in a rigid concession agreement, post-bidding changes are huge issues to resolve.”

He said that under the Indian Port Rail Company set up by the shipping ministry to take care of the last mile railway connectivity proposals, work was in progress on 25 projects while tenders were done for six projects and the government would expedite work on this front.

Talking about capacity enhancement of ports, Mr Kumar said “We have studied about the mismatch in capacity, major ports are increasing their capacity through PPP projects and we hope that if we are able to increase our GDP growth to nine per cent then too we will have enough capacity as even various private sector ports are doing a good job.”

The shipping secretary further said that there is a huge scope in coastal movement of goods and in having capacities of cement, steel and other commodities.

In his address at the ASSOCHAM conference, former finance secretary, Dr Arvind Mayaram emphasised upon the need for more innovative ways for raising long-term finance for infrastructure sector.

“There is also a need for right ecosystem to ease flow of infrastructure financing,” he said.

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