National Maritime Day 2021 | 06 Apr 2021

Why in News

Recently, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways celebrated the 58th National Maritime Day (5th April).

Key Points

  • About:
    • National Maritime Day is celebrated every year on 5th April to commemorate the maiden voyage of the first Indian flag merchant vessel 'S.S LOYALTY' from Mumbai to London, on April 5th, 1919.
  • 2021 Theme:
    • ‘Sustainable Shipping beyond Covid-19’.
  • Significance:
    • It is celebrated to encourage the merchant shipping industry of India. Shipping contributes a lot to the country’s economy.
    • At present, 90% of India’s international trade in terms of volume and 77% in terms of value is moved by sea.
  • Other Initiatives:
    • Sagarmala Initiative:
      • The Sagarmala Programme was approved by the Union Cabinet in 2015 which aims at holistic port infrastructure development along the 7,516-km long coastline through modernisation, mechanisation and computerisation.
    • Project Unnati:
      • The shipping ministry launched Project Unnati in 2014 under which efficiency of equipment was studied and every activity was scrutinised to identify excesses/mistakes.
    • Blue Economy Policy:
      • The policy document highlights the blue economy as one of the ten core dimensions for national growth and It emphasizes policies across several key sectors to achieve holistic growth of India’s economy.
    • Joined International Maritime Organization:
      • India is also a member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
      • IMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN). It is a global standard-setting authority with responsibility to improve the safety and security of international shipping and prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships.
    • National Waterways:
    • The Sagar-Manthan:
      • Mercantile Marine Domain Awareness Centre has been launched.
      • It is an information system for enhancing maritime safety, search and rescue capabilities, security and marine environment protection.
    • Ship Repair Clusters:
      • They will be developed along both coasts by 2022.
    • Ship Recycling:

Maritime India Vision 2030

  • About:
    • It is a ten-year blueprint for the maritime sector which was released by the Prime Minister of India at the Maritime India Summit 2021.
    • It will supersede the Sagarmala initiative and aims to boost waterways, give a fillip to the shipbuilding industry and encourage cruise tourism in India.
  • Policy Initiatives and Development Projects:
    • Maritime Development Fund:
      • A Rs. 25,000-crore fund, which will provide low cost, long-tenure financing to the sector with the Centre contributing Rs. 2,500 crore over seven years.
    • Port Regulatory Authority:
      • A pan-India port authority will be set up under the new Indian Ports Act (to replace the old Indian Ports Act 1908) for enabling oversight across major and non-major ports, enhance institutional coverage for ports and provide for structured growth of the ports sector to boost investor confidence.
    • Eastern Waterways Connectivity Transport Grid Project:
      • It aims to develop regional connectivity with Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar.
    • Riverine Development Fund:
      • Calls for extending low cost, long-term financing for inland vessels with the support of a Riverine Development Fund (RDF) and for extending the coverage of the tonnage tax scheme (applicable to ocean-going ships and dredgers) to inland vessels to enhance the availability of such vessels.
    • Rationalisation of Port Charges:
      • It will make them more competitive, besides doing away with all hidden charges levied by ship liners to bring in more transparency.
    • Promotion of Water Transport:
      • For decongestion of urban areas, and developing waterways as an alternative means of urban transport.