Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - May 11, 2018

Ministry of Shipping 2017- Year of Consolidation ( part -1)

PORTS Policy initiatives to improve efficiency

  • To improved operational efficiency and higher operating surplus has been made possible due to certain pro-active policy initiatives taken by the Ministry of Shipping.
  • A new Berthing Policy and Stevedoring Policy have been implemented.
  • The tariff guidelines were revised to provide flexibility to port operators to align the tariff closer to market tariff subject to achievement of certain performance standards.
  • 100% FDI is being allowed in PPP Projects in the Port Sector.
  • The Model Concession Agreement is being amended with a view to obviate the problems being faced in execution of PPP Projects on account of certain provisions of the present MCA, in order to make the investments in the Port Sector more attractive.

Major Ports Authorities Bill, 2016

  • A new Major Ports Authorities Bill, 2016 to replace the existing Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 with a view to provide greater autonomy and modernization of institutional structure has been introduced in the Lok Sabha
  • The Bill has been examined by the Parliamentary Standing Committee and based on the recommendations made in the Committee’s Report, necessary Official amendments in the proposed Bill have been formulated.
  • Inter –Ministerial consultations are being held before seeking approval of the Union Cabinet for introduction of the Official amendments in the proposed Bill.

Deendayal Port

  • Kandla Port has been renamed to Deendayal Port.

Ease of Doing Business

  • As part of promoting Ease of Doing Business to promote and facilitate business at ports, a number of activities which include elimination of manual forms, direct port delivery, installation of container scanners at ports, RFID based automation system etc have been undertaken.
  • RFID system has already been put in place in 9 Major Ports and the system is expected to be in place in the remaining ports by March, 2018.
  • Direct Port Delivery (DPD) volume is steadily growing.
  • Focus is being given on setting up of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Coastal Economic Zones around major ports.
  • SEZ at JNPT Smart Industrial Port Cities at Kandla and Paradip are under implementation.
  • 100% cashless transaction have been achieved in all Major Ports, land records have been digitized, all ports pensioners linked with Aadhaar Biometric system etc.

Chahbahar Port in Iran

  • India is also engaged in the development of Chahbahar Port in Iran.
  • An MoU has been signed between the two countries in this regard.
  • Inauguration ceremony of the Phase-I of Shahid Beheshti Port at Chabahar, Iran was held on 3rd December,2017 by the Hon’ble President of Iran.

Inland Water Transport Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP)

  • ‘Jal Marg Vikas’ (National Waterway-I: River Ganga) Project envisages to develop a fairway with upto 3 meters depth between Varanasi and Haldia covering a distance of 1380 kms at an estimated cost of Rs. 5369 crore.
  • On completion, the project would enable commercial navigation of 1500-2000 ton vessels.
  • The project is being implemented by the IWAI with technical and investment support of World Bank and is to be completed by 2022-23.

Development of National Waterway-4

  • Laid the foundation stone for commencement of development work for Phase-I of National Waterway-4 from Muktiyala to Vijaywada on 3rd October, 2017.
  • The project would facilitate movement of construction material for Amravati, the upcoming capital city of Andhra Pradesh

Extending the Coverage

  • To extend the coverage to the entire workforce, ESI Corporation launched a new Employer friendly Scheme named ‘Scheme for Promoting Registration of Employers and Employees (SPREE)’..

Development of eight (08) new NWs

  • Mandovi, Zuari, Camberjua, Barak, Gandak, Rupnarayan, Alappuzha-Kottayam-Athirampuzha Canal and Sunderbans National Waterways were considered for development during 2017-18.
  • The three NWs of Goa would be developed after signing of the MoU between IWAI, Mormugao Port Trust and Captain of the Ports, Govt. of Goa.
  • The bandelling and channel marking in Gandak river has been issued and work will start shortly.
  • Development of fairway in Barak river has been awarded and the contractor is mobilizing the equipment at site.
  • The tendering for fairway and pantoon at Hemnagar of Sunderbans waterways is under finalization.
  • The dredging and floating terminals at Rupnarayan river is also under finalization.

Raising of bonds by IWAI

  • IWAI was permitted to raise Rs. 1000 crore as bonds through Extra Budgetary Resources.
  • The EBRs raised are being utilized by IWAI exclusively for capital expenditure for development of National Waterways (NWs) during 2017-18.
  • Institutional funding for development and maintenance of National Waterways (NWs)- Allocation of 2.5 per cent of Central Road Fund

Enlighten about the changes in Central Road Fund Act 2000

  • The Union Cabinet has accorded its approval to a proposal jointly moved by the Ministry of Shipping and the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) for amendment of Central Road Fund Act, 2000 to allocate 2.5 per cent of the proceeds of Central Road Fund (CRF) for development and maintenance of National Waterways (NWs) and a commensurate reduction in the share provided for development of National Highways.
  • To implement the decision, the Central Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2017 has been introduced in Lok Sabha on 24.07.2017.

Freight Village and Logistics Hub at Varanasi

  • To improve logistics efficiency, it is proposed to set up a Freight Village and Logistics Hub in Varanasi in continuation of the multi-modal terminal under construction as part of the Jal Marg Vikas Project.
  • The estimated cost of the Freight Village is Rs.3055 crore.
  • To set up the Freight Village, the Screening Committee of the Department of Economic Affairs appraised a proposal seeking technical and financial assistance of US$240 million (Rs. 260 crore) and the World Bank has agreed to the proposal.

International movement of cargo on NW-16 (River Barak)

  • International movement of cargo has commenced on NW-16 (River Barak).
  • The first consignment of 200 MT Limestone was transported by Bangladeshi vessel M.V. Mia Mou from Karimganj (Assam) to Ashuganj (Bangladesh) through National Waterway – 16

MoU between India and Bangladesh on Passenger and Cruise Services on Coastal and Protocol Route

  • MoU between India and Bangladesh on Fairway development of Ashuganj-Zakigunj and Sirajgunj-Daikhawa stretch of Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route
  • The fairway is to be developed by IWAI and Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA).
  • The tender documents for fairway development of both the stretches are under finalization. Ministry of External Affairs has agreed to bear the dredging cost of fairways development of the above stretches which would be Rs. 244.0 crore over a period of seven years.
  • Agreement between India and Bangladesh for use of Chittagong and Mongla Port for movement of goods to and from India

Sources – PIB, Ministry of shipping,My Gov, Govt websites