The Indian government has issued a draft Ports Bill for public consultation that aims at bringing more investment in the sector. According to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways the Bill is designed to enable the “structured growth and sustainable development of ports to attract investments in the port sector for optimum utilisation of the Indian coastline by effective administration and management of ports.”
Shipping Minister, Mansukh Mandaviya, said he believed the Bill would be a ‘game changer’ by triggering significant reforms. The Bill sets up a Maritime Port Regulatory Authority and envisages the formulation of a National Port policy and National Port plan in consultation with Coastal State Governments, State Maritime Boards and other stakeholders. It also looks to set up specialised tribunals to curb any anti-competitive practices in the port sector and provide a speedy and affordable way of settling grievances.
The Bill ensures that all conventions and protocols to which India is a party are incorporated in a way that will promote marine safety and security. It further seeks to provide increased opportunities for public and private investments in the Indian maritime and ports sector by “removing barriers to entry, simplifying processes and the establishment of agencies and bodies to plan and enable the growth of the ports sector.”