The “Major Ports Authorities Bill of 2020” was passed in the Upper House of the Parliament (Rajya Sabha) on 10th February 2021. The Ports bill was passed using the ballot votes. 84 votes were in favour while 44 votes were against it. The bill was passed in the Lower House (Lok Sabha) in September 2020.

Significance

  • 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 Major Ports Authorities Bill also boost port land usage and it will amplify competition in port tariffs.

Provisions of the bill

  1. It aims to provide more autonomy in decision-making.
  2. The bill will provide autonomy to the 12 major ports of India, Namely’
  • Deendayal (erstwhile Kandla) port
  • Mumbai port
  • JNPT port (Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust)
  • 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. It will also professionalise the governance of the port with the formation of boards.
  2. It will replace the Major Port Trusts Act of 1963.
  3. The bill 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 Government of India 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 2 to 4 independent members. Further, it will include 2 members who will represent the interests of the employees from the Major Port Authority.

Criticism

The Major Ports Authorities 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.

Major Ports Authorities Bill of 2020