Major Ports Authorities Bill, 2020

The “Major Ports Authorities Bill, 2020” was passed in the Rajya Sabha on February 10, 2021. The bill was passed using the ballot votes. 84 votes were in favour while 44 votes were against it. The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha in September 2020.

Significance of the Bill

  • The Union minister of state for ports, shipping and waterways, Mansukh Mandaviya, highlighted that the bill will encourage the good competition with in the major private ports.
  • The bill also boost port land usage and it will amplify competition in port tariffs.

Provisions of the bill

  1. The bill aims to provide more autonomy in decision-making.
  2. It will provide autonomy to the 12 major ports of India, Namely’
  • Deendayal (erstwhile Kandla) port
  • Mumbai port
  • JNPT port
  • Mormugao port,
  • New Mangalore port,
  • Cochin port,
  • Chennai port,
  • Kamarajar (erstwhile Ennore) port,
  • V O Chidambaranar port,
  • Visakhapatnam port,
  • Paradip port, and
  • Kolkata (including Haldia) port.
  1. The bill will also professionalise the governance of the port with the formation of boards.
  2. The bill will replace the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963.
  3. It comprises of the provisions of creating a Board of Major Port Authority for each major port that in turn will replace the existing Port Trusts.

Composition of the board

The Board will consist of a Chairperson and a deputy Chairperson. Both will be appointed by the central government following the recommendation of a selection committee. The board will also include one member from each of the respective state governments, Railways Ministry, Defence Ministry, and Customs Department.  It will also have two to four independent members. Further, it will include two members who will represent the interests of the employees from the Major Port Authority.

Criticism

The bill is being criticised and opposed alleging that it is aimed at privatising the ports. The bill will deplete the powers of states with respect to the land use.

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