Three days ‘Chintan Baithak’ was held from 28th February to 1st March, 2020 at Mahabalipuram. In the ‘Chintan Baithak’, detailed deliberations on various matters relating to improving the performance of the Major Ports, strengthening of Major Ports to directly compete with private or non-major ports, port modernisation, implementing e-governance to make ports faceless and paperless, developing India as ‘trans-shipment hub’ and Vision-2030 for Maritime Sector were held.
In order to increase tonnage capacity of Indian shipping industry, Government has taken a number of steps. These include (i) Providing Indian shipping industry cargo support through Right of First Refusal (ii) Reducing GST from 18% to 5% on bunker fuel used in Indian flag vessels (iii) Allowing carriage of coastal cargo from one Indian port to another Indian port via foreign ports in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh (iv) Removing licensing requirement for chartering of foreign registered ships by citizens of India, companies incorporated in India and Registered Societies to encourage coastal movement of agriculture and other commodities, fertilizer, EXIM Transshipment Containers and Empty containers (v) Bringing parity in the tax regime of Indian seafarers employed on Indian flag ships vis-a vis those on foreign flag ships (vi) Allowing shipping enterprises based in India to acquire ships abroad and flag them in the country of their convenience (vii) Allowing use of imported Containers for carrying of domestic cargo and allowing use of locally manufactured or domesticated containers conforming to the specifications from the International Organization (ISO), for transportation of EXIM cargo.
In the past four-five years, the Government has given a strong push to port modernisation, mechanisation and digitalisation, with a number of ease of doing business initiatives. The revamped port community system (PCS), PCS1x, is expected to connect and provide real-time information to stakeholders on a single platform. Other key measures for port modernisation include the introduction of web-based e-forms, direct port delivery and direct port entry, installation of container scanners and radio frequency identification-based systems for gate automation, digitalisation of land records and launch of a single-window interface for facilitating trade.
This information was given by the Minister of State for Shipping(I/C) Shri Mansukh Mandaviya in the Rajya Sabha today