Parliament Passes Landmark Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020

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New Delhi: Parliament on Wednesday passed the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020, will now go to President Ram Nath Kovind for his assent.

The bill, moved by Minister of State (independent charge) for Ports, Shipping & Waterways Mansukh Mandaviya, aims to decentralize decision-making and infuse professionalism in governance of major ports that will benefit stakeholders and better project-execution capability.

The Bill seeks to change governance model in central ports to landlord port model in line with successful global practice.

The government hopes this will bring transparency in operations of major ports.

Following are salient features of the Bill:

* More compact in comparison to the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 as the number of sections has been reduced from 134 to 76 by eliminating overlapping and obsolete sections.

* Proposes simplified composition of the Board of Port Authority which will comprise of 11 to 13 members instead of the current 17 to 19 members representing various interests. Provision made for inclusion of representatives of respective state government, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Defence and Customs, Department of Revenue as Members in the Board apart from a Government nominated member and a member representing employees of the Major Port Authority.

* Role of Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) redefined; Port Authority to have powers to fix tariff which will act as reference point for bidding of PPP projects. Board of Port Authority delegated power to fix the scale of rates for other port services and assets including land.

* Adjudicatory Board to be created to carry out the residual function of the erstwhile TAMP for Major Ports, to look into disputes between ports and PPP concessionaires, review stressed PPP projects and suggest measures to review stressed PPP projects and suggest measures to revive such projects and look into complaints regarding services rendered by the ports/ private operators operating within the ports.

* Boards of Port Authority delegated full power to enter into contracts, planning and development, fixing of tariff except in national interest, security and emergency arising out of inaction and default.

* Board of each Major Port will be entitled to create specific master plan in respect of any development or infrastructure.

* Provisions of CSR and development of infrastructure by Port Authority introduced.

* Provision made to safeguard pay & allowances and service conditions including pensionary benefits of the employees of major ports

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