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Editorial Today – Maritime Sector of India

Maritime India Summit 2016 (MIS 2016)

It is a maiden flagship initiative of Ministry of Shipping, Government of India that will provide a unique global platform for investors to explore potential business opportunities in the Indian Maritime Sector.

MIS 2016 is being organized from April 14-16, 2016 at Bombay Convention and Exhibition Centre, Mumbai, India.

Importance of Maritime

  • No great industrial civilisation has been built without strong maritime foundations, including naval power thus in decades to come, Indian economic power cannot and will not improve unless it builds a vital maritime tradition, and the infrastructure to sustain it.

It will focus on which sectors?

  • Ship building, ship repair, ship recycling, dredger/barge manufacturing, setting up of new ports and capacity augmentation of existing ports, development of inland waterways for cargo and passenger transportation, coastal shipping, passenger ferry services, lighthouse and cruise tourism, island development and aquatic resources, maritime cluster development and other services related to Indian Maritime Sector.

Growth Potential in India?

  • India has 7500 Km coastline and the creation of infrastructure would make it engine of growth of India.
  • With more than 14,000 km of navigable inland waterways in the country, there is tremendous potential for development in this sector.

Government Initiatives to improve Maritime Sector:
1) Sagarmala programme

  • The prime objective of the Sagarmala project is to promote port-led direct and indirect development and to provide infrastructure to transport goods to and from ports quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively. Thus it will do two things:-

1) Port Infrastructure Enhancement, including modernization and setting up of new ports, and

2) Efficient Evacuation to and from hinterland.

2) Coastal Economic Zone:
Government is planning to create coastal economic zones(like SEZs) along the country’s 7,500-km long coastline covering many States, ports and special economic zones having uniform policy to further boost manufacturing.

There is a thinking in the government that there should be a port-led development as was done in China where cities were granted special status of open coastal cities. These cities enjoyed special policies of the government.

Though India has many ports, there is no cluster or a section of coastline that enjoys special status and incentives.

3) National waterways Bill has been passed by parliament. Under it, 106 additional inland waterways will be added to the list of national waterways, taking the number to 111.

(Under entry 24 of the union list of the constitution’s seventh schedule, the central government can make laws on shipping and navigation on inland waterways which are classified as national waterways by parliament)

  • The government’s vision was to increase port capacity from 1,400 million tonnes to 3,000 million tonnes by 2025.
  • It is being done to modernise our ports and integrate them with special economic zones, port-based smart cities, industrial parks, warehouses, logistics parks and transport corridors.
  • It would benefit the common man, provide employment to the youth and empower coastal communities.
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