The draft Major Port Authorities Bill, 2016 proposed by Ministry of Shipping has been approved by the Union Cabinet, which will replace the existing Major Port Trusts Act, 1963. The proposed bill aims to empower country’s 12 major ports to perform more efficiently on account of full autonomy in decision making and by modernizing the ports’ institutional structure. The bill would also help to impart transparent decision making, profiting the stakeholders and improved execution of the projects.
The 12 major ports that the bill aims to empower include
1. Kolkata (Haldia, West Bengal)
2. Kandla (Gujarat)
3. Paradip (Odisha)
4. Mumbai (Maharashtra)
5. Marmugao (Goa)
6. JNPT (Maharashtra)
7. Cochin (Kerala)
8. New Managlore (Karnataka)
9. Chennai (Tamil Nadu)
10. V.O. Chidambarnar (Tamil Nadu)
11. Ennore (Tamil Nadu)
12. Visakhapatnam (Adhra Pradesh)
Noticeable features of the bill
- The bill has eliminated overlapping and outmoded Sections of the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963, which makes it compact with number of sections reduced from 134 to 65.
- The Boards of the Port Authority have been given full powers to enter into contracts, fixing of tarrif, planning and development, except in national interest, emergency and security arising out of default and inaction.
- The bill also empowers the Board of the Port Authority to lease land for Port related use for a period of up to 40 years and for any purpose other than purposes specified in MPT Act, 1963’s section 22 for up to a period of 20 years, beyond this period leasing will need approval of the Central Government.
- The Board of Port Authority has been simplified into a compact board with professional independent 11 members, against the existing 17-19 members, to strengthen strategic planning and decision-making.
- The Board of the Port Authority has been given the power of fixing the scale of rates for other port services and assets including land.
- Under the bill, representatives of respective state governments like Railways, Defence Departments along with a representing employee of the Major Ports Authority will be included in the Representatives of the Board.
- The Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) has been delegated the powers to fix tariff which will act as a reference tariff for purposes of bidding for public-private partnership (PPP) projects.
- PPP operators have the power to fix tariff based on the existing market conditions, by simply notifying the Port Authority.
- The bill has proposed creation of an independent Review Board which will carry out the residual function of the erstwhile TAMP. The Review Board will look into disputes between Major Ports and PPP concessionaires, in order to review stressed PPP projects and will suggest measures to review stressed PPP projects among others.
- The bill also aims to reorient the central ports governance model to the landlord port model, in line with effective global practices.