Provisions of the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020

The Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020 was passed in Lok Sabha on September 23, 2020. The bill replaces the Major Ports Act, 1963. It aims to regulate, operate and plan major ports in India. The bill will provide a greater autonomy to ports in the country.

Key provisions

  • The bill specifically deal with the major ports including the Vishakhapatnam, Paradip, Mormugao, V.O. Chidambaranar, New Mangalore, Kolakata, Kandla, Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Chennai, Cochin port.
  • As per the Bill,  ports will be managed by Port Authorities Board and every port will have a port authority which will act under the leadership of a central board.

Port Authority Board

  • The Port authority boards will replace the port trusts.
  • The board comprises of chairperson, members from respective state governments, representatives from Defence Ministry, Railway Ministry and Customs Department.
  • The chairperson of the board will be appointed by the Central Government.
  • The board will also include two to four independent members who will represent the interests of the port authorities.
  • The board will be empowered to use its properties and fix scales of rates for assets.

Other functions

  • Adjudicatory Board: The Adjudicatory Board will do the functions of the tariff authority of the ports. It will review the stressed PPP projects and adjudicate on the disputes related to rights of major ports.
  • Financial Powers: The board will be empowered to raise loans from any scheduled banks and financial institutions. For the loans greater than 50%,  the board will require prior sanction from the central government.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility: The board also have the power to use its funds to provide social benefits including health, education, skill development, environment and housing.