The Union Cabinet has approved to replace the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 by the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2016. The new bill is expected to empower the Major Ports to perform with full autonomy and greater efficiency by modernising the Institutional structure of Major Ports. The bill has also paved way for decentralised decision making and for infusing professionalism in the governance of ports.
The bill has simplified the composition of the port boards to include only 11 members from the present 17 to 19 members. It has increased the autonomy of the 12 port boards and allows future public-private partnership operators to fix tariffs based on market conditions. In addition, the port boards will not require the need for getting government approval for raising loans, appointment of consultants, execution of contracts and creation of service posts etc.
The bill will reorient the governance model in central ports to the landlord port model in tune with the successful global practices. In addition, the port authorities have been given the power to fix and regulate tariffs. An independent review board is proposed to be set up to perform the residual function of the erstwhile Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) for major ports and to look into disputes between ports and PPP concessionaires, and also to review stressed PPP projects.