Cabinet approves Major Port Authorities Bill, 2016

Mopa: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the gathering during foundation stone laying ceremony of Greenfield Airport in Mopa, Goa on Sunday. PTI Photo (PTI11_13_2016_000054B)

The today approved the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2016, a move aimed at bringing greater efficiency and professionalism in governance of ports through full autonomy in decision making.

It will replace the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963.

The decision on the same was taken at the Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Modi.

The Union Cabinet “has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Shipping to replace the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 by the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2016,” an official statement said.

“This will empower the major ports to perform with greater efficiency on account of full autonomy in decision making and by modernising the institutional structure of major ports,” the statement added.

With a view to promote the expansion of port infrastructure and facilitate trade and commerce, the proposed bill aims at decentralising decision making and to infuse professionalism in governance of ports.

The new Major Ports Authority Bill, 2016 would help to impart faster and transparent decision making, benefiting the stakeholders and better project execution capability.

The Bill is aimed at reorienting the governance model in central ports to landlord port model in line with the successful global practice. This will also help in bringing transparency in operations of major ports.

One of the salient features of the Major Ports Authority Bill is that the Bill is more compact in comparison to the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 as the number of sections has been reduced to 65 from 134 by eliminating overlapping and obsolete Sections.
The new Bill has proposed a simplified composition of the

Board of Port Authority that will have 11 members, as against the present 17 to 19 members, representing various interests.

A compact board with professional independent members will strengthen decision making and strategic planning, the statement said.

“Provision has been made for inclusion of representative of the state in which the major port is situated, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Defence and Customs, Department of Revenue as members in the board apart from a nominee member and a member representing the employees of the Major Ports Authority,” it said.

The role of Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) has been redefined. Port Authority has now been given powers to fix tariff which will act as a reference tariff for purposes of bidding for PPP projects.

PPP operators will be free to fix tariff based on market conditions. The Board of the Port Authority has been delegated the power to fix the scale of rates for other port services and assets including land.

An independent Review Board has been proposed to be created to carry out the residual function of the erstwhile Tariff Authority for Major Ports, to look into disputes between ports and PPP concessionaires, to review stressed PPP projects and suggest measures to review stressed PPP projects among others.

The boards of the Port Authority have been delegated full powers to enter into contracts, planning and development, fixing of tariff except in national interest, security and emergency arising out of inaction and default. In the present MPT (Major Port Trust) Act, 1963 prior approval of the Centralwas required in 22 cases.

“Provisions of CSR & development of infrastructure by Port Authority have been introduced,” it said.