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Draft Indian Ports Bill, 2022

  • 19 Aug 2022
  • 4 min read

For Prelims: Major Ports in India, Major Ports vs Minor Ports.

For Mains: Draft Indian Ports Bill, 2022, Indian Ports Act 1908 and the Major Port Trust Act, 1963.

Why in News?

Recently, the government has prepared the Draft Indian Ports Bill, 2022.

  • The draft Indian Ports Bill,2022 seeks to repeal and replace the existing Indian Ports Act 1908, which is more than 110 years old, becoming imperative that the Act is revamped to reflect the present-day frameworks.

What does the Bill Propose?

  • It seeks to 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 seeks to empower and establish State Maritime Boards for effective administration, control and management of non-major ports in India
  • It aims to provide adjudicatory mechanisms for redressal of port related disputes and to establish a national council for fostering structured growth and development of the port sector.
  • It will ensure optimum utilisation of the coastline of India, as may be necessary, and to provide for matters ancillary and incidental thereto, or connected therewith.

What is the Significance of Ports for India?

  • India has a 7,500 km long coastline, 14,500 km of potentially navigable waterways and strategic location on key international maritime trade routes.
  • About 95% of India’s trade by volume and 65% by value is done through maritime transport facilitated by ports.

How is the Indian Port Ecosystem?

  • About:
    • Ports sector in India is driven by high growth in external trade.
    • The Union Government has allowed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of up to 100% under the automatic route for port and harbour construction and maintenance projects.
  • Legal Provisions:
    • Major Ports are under the Union list of the Indian Constitution and are administered under the Indian Ports Act 1908 and the Major Port Trust Act, 1963.
  • Number of Major Ports:
    • There are 12 major ports and 200 non-major ports (minor ports) in the country.
      • Major ports include Deendayal (erstwhile Kandla), Mumbai, JNPT, Marmugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Kamarajar (earlier Ennore), V O Chidambaranar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia).
  • Major Ports vs Minor Ports:
    • Ports in India are classified as Major and Minor Ports according to the jurisdiction of the Central and State government as defined under the Indian Ports Act, 1908.
      • All the 12 Major Ports are governed under the Major Port Trusts act, 1963 and are owned and managed by the Central Government.
      • All the Minor Ports are governed under the Indian Port Act, 1908 and are owned and managed by the State Governments.
  • Administration of Major Ports:
    • Each major port is governed by a Board of Trustees appointed by the Government of India.
    • The Trusts operate on the basis of policy directives and orders from the Government of India.

Way Forward

  • The ongoing developments and committed investments (public and private) in ports need to be aided by scientific and consultative planning, with a keen focus on ever increasing safety, security and environmental issues.

Source: PIB

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