Changes in Inland Vessel Act expected in two months, says Rajive Kumar

After the revision, the proposed bill will be presented in the Parliament 

Mumbai: Shipping sector in India has been undergoing a lot of change in form of new initiatives and legislations, in last few years. Since 2014, Shipping Ministry, Secretary Rajive Kumar has been part of the changing dynamics of the sector. 1981 batch of cadre officer who was recently in the city to attend various events organised by various public entities, spoke to Free Press Journal.

What kind of changes can be expected in Inland Vessel Act?

All major legislative provisions of Maritime sector are outdated. There have been a lot of changes that have taken place since the inception of the Act. Inland Vessel Act is a vintage act which is 100-years old. Now, we have to keep up with time. In today’s time, the safety and security requirements has become substantial, be it vessel design or any other needs. So, all these required provisions will be included in the revised act. This is in discussion stage and the changes can be expected in two month’s time. But after that it has to go to the Parliament.

How much savings are expected by the ports who have embraced non-conventional energy?

Most of these ports are doing something on non-conventional energy. We are following the vision of the government wherein every department should contribute in whatever way they can. I was told that these port trusts will recover the money in three year’s time. One cannot deny that there are savings.

What is the progress made in 36 waterways bids?

It is a project that is subjected to their feasibility and funding. We will take up 36 waterways in next three years that is until 2019. In the first phase, we hope to cover 8 waterways, which have already been identified.

How many modern cruise terminals should Mumbai accept?

Presently, Mumbai has become a base for one ship and I believe for Mumbaikars it is proud moment. This concept is going to grow further. As and when we are able to clear up various problems that are hindering cruise development, we will be able to move ahead. MBPT is already spending around Rs 225 crore for cruise terminal.

With budget round the corner, what could we expect for the shipping sector?

Money is not an issue for a good project.

Waterways are considered as the dream project of shipping minister Nitin Gadkari. What more can be expected in coming years?

Sagar Mala will drive the whole sector for next 15-20 years. I don’t think you can have a better plan. Only thing that is Mr. Gadkari wants to prepone everything. We are doing our best.

For such projects, do not you feel funding/investment is a problem?

For a viable and good project, money is not a problem.

Most of the ports have turned profitable. But are there still some unprofitable (sick) units, which are these?

Efficiencies (of many ports) have improved and all of them are in operational profits. We have some legacy ports like Kolkata port for instance have such a huge list of pensioners. For lot of the city-based ports, the way forward is that they maximise the return from their estates. They have to take a new route and evolve. In a city, you cannot bring in coal. So you need to look at cargo that is clean and maximise other forms of revenue. For an airport, 70 per cent profit is non-aeronautical like shops in the airport premise and advertisements. The same pattern is followed by railways. The concept here is to earn revenues by developing the real estate. This is done by Delhi Metro already. So, that is the way forward.

What kind of activity are we looking in terms of R&D?

R&D is a function of couple of things. I also think it is partly also cultural. Probably, we do not encourage our youngsters. So, R&D is a big function of the psychologically make up of the children. I am sure that taxation relief and such activities do help to certain extend.

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