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Saturday, May 18, 2002

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Port trusts results in new format

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MUMBAI, May 17

ALL major port trusts will have to report their financial results in a new format for the fiscal year ending March 2003. They will also have to follow a new "commercial accounting system'' based on the Billimoria Committee's recommendations, Mr Vedpraksh Goyal, Union Shipping Minister, has said.

As a prelude to corporatisation, ports have been asked to prepare "profit and loss" statement as against the current practice of "income and expenditure'' statement. The Bill on corporatisation of ports is currently pending with the Standing Committee of Parliament.

Last week, the Shipping Ministry held a meeting of financial advisors and chief accounts officers (FA&COs) of major ports and officials of CAGs in Delhi to discuss on the new accounting systems.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Goyal said port unions, opposing corporatisation, had a meeting with the Prime Minister on May 13. The unions were advised to submit their views on the proposed Bill.

The Prime Minister had stated that privatisation of port terminals is part of the economic reforms policy adopted by the Government in 1996. This is aimed at improving ports' productivity and their income.

Mr Goyal said the government would not be averse to the idea of inducting private sector professionals in key positions in ports if it helped improve productivity.

Responding to questions on the loss of Seamens' Provident Fund, Mr Goyal said no seamen would lose his money. CBI has taken up the case and all efforts would be made to recover the loss. The SPF has enough funds in deposits with the RBI to meet seamen's claims, the Minister said.

Mr Goyal was critical of the decision of the SPF Trust empowering a single person- the commissioner - with the authority to take independent investment decisions.

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