The Indian ministry of shipping unveiled its vision document for Coastal Shipping, Tourism and Regional Development on Monday at Dona Paula, Goa at the 16th meeting of Maritime States Development Council (MSDC), reports Times of India.
The government will encourage Indian ship owners and operators to acquire roll-on-roll-off vessels, passenger ferries, car and truck ferries and cargo carriers.
This is one of the key points that the central ministry of shipping has mentioned in its vision document for coastal shipping, tourism and regional development.
The document that seeks to ensure that the maritime sector contributes to the country's GDP was released by union minister of shipping, road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari, who also chaired the meeting.
"The country's and each state's GDP cannot grow without development of the maritime sector. Roads, shipping and ports, it is my endeavor that they will add 2 percent to the country's GDP," Gadkari said.
Gadkari has proposed to set up floating jetties across the country that will help receive passenger ferries, passenger seaplanes, hovercrafts and cargo and thus help realize the full potential of coastal and inland waterways shipping.
The ministry will support these projects by meeting 50 percent of the costs through grants-in-aid.
"The central government will bear 50 percent of the project cost subject to a maximum of Rs 25 crores for construction of coastal berths for cargo while a maximum of 10 crores will be given as grant in aid for construction of jetties in national waterways for passenger movement," the minister said.
The Minister informed that the Government has decided to open seven more major ports in addition to the 12 existing major ports, out of which one would be based in Bengal, namely Sagar Port, and the other in Dahanu, Maharashtra, to be opened up jointly for Maharashtra and Kerala.
He said work on these two projects has already begun. The meeting, hosted by Goa-based major port of Mormugao Port Trust on behalf of the Shipping Ministry, was attended by delegates from different parts of the country, including secretary and senior level officers from the Ministry of Shipping, and chairmen of all major ports.
Called the new central sector scheme for providing financial support to major and non-major ports, the scheme is meant for construction and upgradation of berths and jetties for coastal vessels, passenger ferries, inland vessels and barges.
Pointing out that India's maritime sector's performance was dismal in comparison to global powers, Gadkari lamented that the modal mix for India's transport systems were skewed towards railways and roads which not only cost a lot more but also lead to frequent accidents and loss of life.