In a bid to develop the 7,500 km coastline of India, the Ministry of Port Shipping and Waterways has created a list of 400 projects which have an investment potential of $31 billion (Rs 2.25 trillion).
Speaking at the inaugural of ‘Maritime India Summit 2021’ through video conferencing, Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited the world to come to India and be a part of the country’s growth trajectory as it focuses on upgradation of infrastructure and boosting reform journey.
The capacity of major ports has increased to 1,550 million tonnes at present from 870 million tonne in 2014.
Indian ports now have features such as Direct port Delivery, Direct Port Entry and an upgraded Port Community System (PCS) for easy data flow.
“Our ports have reduced waiting time for inbound and outbound cargo,” he added.
At present, mega ports with world-class infrastructure are being developed in Vadhavan, Paradip and Deendayal Port in Kandla.
“Ours is a Government that is investing in waterways in a way that was never seen before. Domestic waterways are found to be cost effective and environment friendly ways of transporting freight. We aim to operationalise 23 waterways by 2030,” he said.
India has as many as 189 lighthouses across its vast coastline and that the government has chalked out a plan to develop some of these spots into tourist destination.
“We have drawn up a programme for developing tourism in the land adjacent to 78 lighthouses. The key objective of this initiative is to enhance development of the existing lighthouses and its surrounding areas into unique maritime tourism landmarks,” Modi informed.
He announced that steps are also being taken to introduce urban water transport systems in key states and cities such as Kochi, Mumbai, Gujarat and Goa.
The Government has recently widened the ambit of the maritime sector by renaming the Ministry of Shipping as Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways so that work happens in a holistic manner.
Meanwhile, the government is also focusing on the domestic ship building and ship repair market.
To encourage domestic shipbuilding, approvals have been given to the Shipbuilding Financial Assistance Policy for Indian Shipyards.
Talking about the Maritime India Vision 2030, The Prime Minister said it outlines the priorities of the Government.
The Sagar-Manthan: Mercantile Marine Domain Awareness Centre has also been launched today. It is an information system for enhancing maritime safety, search and rescue capabilities, security and marine environment protection.
The Sagarmala project for promoting port led development was announced by the Government in 2016. As part of the Programme, more than 574 projects at a cost of $82 billion (Rs 6 lakh crore) have been identified for implementation during 2015 to 2035.
Meanwhile, ship repair clusters would be developed along both coasts by 2022.
Domestic ship recycling industry will also be promoted to create ‘Wealth from Waste’. India has enacted Recycling of Ships Act, 2019 and agreed to the Hong Kong International Convention.
The Prime Minister expressed the desire to share our best practices with the world and also the openness to learning from global best practices. Continuing with India’s focus on trade and economic linkages with the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) nations, India plans to enhance investment in infrastructure and facilitate mutual agreements by 2026, he said.
The Prime Minister said that the Government has initiated holistic development of island infrastructure and ecosystem. He added that the Government is keen to promote the use of renewable energy in the maritime sector and is in the process of installing solar and wind-based power systems at all the major ports across the country. The aim is to increase usage of renewable energy to more than 60 percent of total energy by 2030 in three phases across Indian ports.