With a view to promote port infrastructure and facilitate trade and commerce, the Ministry of Shipping has prepared a draft Bill titled Major Port Authorities Act, 2016, to replace the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963.
The proposed Bill will give more autonomy and flexibility to major ports along with a more professional approach to its governance.
The draft Bill has been modified and uploaded on the Ministry of Shipping’s website.
It proposes a more simplified composition of the Board of the Port Authority. There is provision for the inclusion of three functional heads of major ports as members in the Board, apart from a government nominee member and a labour union nominee member. With no regulation to tariff by TAMP, future PPP operators will be free to fix tariff based on market conditions and notify the Port Authority, the Bill proposed. The power to fix the scale of rates for other port services and assets like land has been delegated to the Board in the draft Bill.
A distinction has been made between port-related usages and non–port related in terms of approval of leases. The Port Authority is empowered to lease land for port-related use for up to 40 years and for non-port related use up to 20 years beyond which the approval of the Central Government is required.
The Board of Port Authority has been delegated power to raise loans and issue security for the purpose of capital expenditure and working capital requirement and will not need prior approvals from the government. There are also provisions of CSR & development of infrastructure by Port Authority in the proposed Bill.
After the newly drafted Bill, the status of Port Authority will be deemed as ‘local authority’ under the provisions of the General Clauses Act, 1887, and other applicable statutes.
The draft Bill is open to review and comments from various stakeholders. After approval of the Cabinet, the draft Bill shall be placed before Parliament for consideration.
Read the Bill here.