Make changes in draft Indian Ports Bill, Stalin urges Modi

The Chief Minister also said that the draft Bill will stifle such State-specific initiatives by imposing a centralised regulatory regime on non-major ports.
CM MK Stalin; Modi
CM MK Stalin; ModiFile

CHENNAI: Chief Minister MK Stalin on Thursday said that the draft Indian Ports Bill, 2022, is trying to centralise the administration of minor ports, which are currently administered by the State governments, and urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make changes in the proposed Bill.

"Even though some of the suggestions from the maritime states and other stakeholders have been accommodated, I am afraid that the revised draft Bill still largely continues to ignore international and domestic experience that ports are best managed by local and regional governments. The growth trajectory of India’s port sector clearly shows that the non-major ports managed by the maritime states have grown faster than the major ports under the Union government. This was because the maritime states especially Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh facilitated the growth of non-major ports through private investments and business-friendly policies,” said the Chief Minister, in a DO letter addressed to the Prime Minister.

The Chief Minister also said that the draft Bill will stifle such State-specific initiatives by imposing a centralised regulatory regime on non-major ports.

"The most significant change is the attempt to make the Maritime State Development Council (MSDC) a regulatory body for minor ports. Currently, it is only an advisory body and converting it into a regulatory body with permanent staff will surely encroach upon the powers of states. This may end up choking the future development of minor ports,” said the Chief Minister.

Stalin further condemned the centralising provisions in the draft Bill that encroach upon the powers of the maritime states or the state maritime boards.

"For example, chapter V of the Bill prescribes the constitution, functions and powers of the state maritime boards. There are already state legislations governing them. As per the proposed bill, if any amendments are required to these Acts, they can be made by the State Legislatures based only on the recommendations of the Centre or the MSDC. This would make the legislative process dysfunctional," said Stalin, who also urged the Prime Minister to delete chapters that provide powers to MSDC.

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