Major Port Authorities Bill will give autonomy to India’s major ports

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The Major Port Authorities Bill 2020 which proposes to repeal the Major Port Trusts Act 1963 was recently introduced in the Lok Sabha by Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Shipping amid objections by opposition parties who wanted the government to redraft the legislation to remove ambiguity.

The bill seeks to provide regulation, operation and planning of the 12 Major Ports in India and to vest the administration, control and management of the ports upon the Boards of Major Port Authorities and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. This will empower the Major Ports to perform with greater efficiency on account of full autonomy in decision making and by modernising their institutional framework. The bill will also help in bringing transparency in operations of the Major Ports.

With the introduction of Major Port Authorities Bill 2020, the role of Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) has also been redefined. Port Authority now has the power to fix tariff which will act as a reference tariff for purposes of bidding for PPP projects. PPP operators will be free to fix tariff based on market conditions.

The Bill was first introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2016 and thereafter referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC), who after taking evidence and wide spread consultations, submitted its report in July 2017.  Based on this, the Ministry of Shipping introduced the official amendment to the Bill in the Lok Sabha in 2018.  However, the Bill got lapsed after the dissolution of previous Lok Sabha.

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