The Cabinet has decided to replace the old law of 1963 with a new Major Port Authority Bill to increase the efficiency and competitiveness of 12 major ports of India by giving them autonomy. It can be introduced only in the current budget session of Parliament. Management of the major 12 ports can provide functional autonomy as well as faster decision making. Earlier this bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2016, from where it was referred to the standing committee of Parliament.
It was lost due to the dissolution of the last Lok Sabha. Ports can be more modern and efficient with autonomy. Improvement in the condition of ports can result in an increase in the foreign trade of the country besides employment growth. This will pave the way for adopting methods like the best ports of the world domestically. The bill would have only 76 sections as against 134 sections of the Major Port Trust Act of 1963. It has redefined the Major Port's tariff authority and empowered it to set tariffs or rates.
This tariff can be mentioned as a reference when bidding PPP projects. The Board authorities of the Port Authority may have the authority to fix rates for other port services and assets, including land. Boards can formulate and implement contracts and development plans with anyone except for national interest, security, and emergencies. This will pave the way for the development of all ports.