The draft Indian Ports Bill, 2022—which intends to consolidate and amend laws relating to ports in India—has been issued for stakeholder consultation.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the Union Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways said, it seeks feedback and suggestions from stakeholders.
The existing Indian Ports Act 1908 is over 110 years old.
The draft IP Bill 2022 seeks to repeal and replace the existing Act of 1908. The primary objectives of the proposed bill are to promote integrated planning between the Centre and the States; ensure prevention of pollution in all ports; address lacunae in the dispute resolution framework; and usher in transparency and cooperation in development through the use of data.
The proposed bill intends to streamline development of the sector, promoting ease of doing business, eliminating unnecessary delays and disagreements, and defining responsibilities. It will incorporate State maritime boards into the national framework too.
Additionally, the Maritime State Development Council will ensure cooperative federalism with the Centre and State Governments and Union Territories working together.
Existing penalties in the Act which are outdated have been updated with respect to amounts and offences relevant to the present-day scenario.
Three earlier versions of the Bill were circulated by the Ministry to various stakeholders, including major ports, State governments, State Maritime Boards and various central government ministries.
The Draft IP Bill, 2022 has been formulated, keeping in view all the remarks that have been received, the Ministry said in a statement.
About 95 per cent of India’s trade by volume and 65 per cent by value is done through maritime transport facilitated by ports.
Under Sagarmala, several initiatives for port-led development have been identified and launched. 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.