New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) A bill that seeks to provide greater autonomy in decision-making to 12 major ports in the country and professionalise their governance by setting up boards was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
The Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020, seeks to repeal the Major Port Trusts Act of 1963. It has already been passed by the Lok Sabha last year.
The bill aims to provide for regulation, operation and planning of major ports in India and to vest the administration, control and management of such ports upon the boards of major port authorities.
The legislation seeks at reorienting the governance model in central ports to landlord port model in line with the global practice.
Introducing the bill in the Upper House, Shipping Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said the legislation seeks to make the 12 big ports across the country more competitive and enhance ease of doing business.
'It is necessary to bring in changes in the existing law with changing times. In order to enable major ports to compete with private sector ports, we have brought this bill,' the minister noted.
Participating in the debate, Shaktisinh Gohil (Congress) said the bill is drafted in such a way that it would facilitate the entry of private sector entities into the management.
He said loopholes in the draft copy were deliberately kept in order to help 'back door entry of the friends' into the sector.
'Like all airports have gone to a friend, this bill has been drafted in such a way to give away these 12 major ports to another friend,' Gohil alleged.
He asked the government to send the bill to a parliamentary panel to remove all anomalies.
Suresh Prabhu (BJP) said the bill would help in development of major ports which has not happened in the last 75 years.
He said the bill would give autonomy to the port management and that they would then be able to run the administration in a professional manner.
He also asked the government to develop smaller ports across various states. He also sought development of Dugarajapatnam Port in Andhra Pradesh stating the development would have positive impact on the region and help generate employment for local people.
India has 12 major ports -- Deendayal (erstwhile Kandla), Mumbai, JNPT, Marmugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Kamarajar (earlier Ennore), V O Chidambarnar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia). PTI MSS DV DV