Mumbai, April 14: “Building upon our glorious maritime tradition, we are working hard to achieve new heights in this area. In the very early days of our Government, we announced the Sagarmala programme. This is aimed at leveraging our long coastline and natural maritime advantages”, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi while inaugurating #MaritimeIndia Summit, a maiden initiative of the Ministry of Shipping.
The 3-day event will provide a platform for participants to explore investment opportunities in the Indian Maritime sector along with showcasing latest technological developments in the sector. Notably, South Korea is the partner country for the event.
Emphasizing on his government’s focus on promoting port led development, energizing the coastal economy and infrastructure development in these areas Modi said that the govt particularly wants to modernize our ports and integrate them with Special Economic Zones; Port based Smart Cities, Industrial Parks, Warehouses, Logistics Parks and Transport Corridors.
Prime Minister mentioned India’s vast coastline of 7500 kilometers which offers a huge investment opportunity. Apart from the length of the coastline, India's maritime potential also lies in its strategic location on all major shipping highways, he said. He also highlighted that India has an expansive and productive hinterland, through which flows a network of mighty rivers.
Stating that India’s maritime agenda will complement this ambitious infrastructure plan for the hinterland which is going on in parallel, Modi called upon global business community to partner with India to give shape to our process of port led development.
“I am sure, the long coastline of India along with diverse coastal regions and hard working coastal communities can become an engine of growth of India,” he said.
Modi recalled several reforms and taken a number of new initiatives carried out by his govt to enable the growth of the port and related sectors. Modi said that under the ‘Make in India’ approach, we have taken many steps to make India a global manufacturing hub. We have done a lot of corrections on the front of Ease of doing business - we have jumped up 12 ranks in World Bank’s ranking.
The govt has liberalized the licensing regimes which include the defence sector and ship building.
Most of the FDI sectors are now put on automatic approval route. Shipyards are being given Infrastructure status; at par with the ports and rebate of service tax on coastal shipping has been increased to seventy per cent.
This has resulted into a rise in FDI inflows which has gone up by 44 per cent since this government took over. In fact, the year 2015-16 has seen the highest ever FDI inflow into India. Similarly India’s highest ever quantity of cargo handled by major ports was in 2015 and the port efficiency parameters have shown very good improvement.
In the last two years, our Major Ports have added 165 million tonne capacity with record additions each year. 94 million tonne capacity was added by these ports in 2015-16 alone which is the highest ever. The traffic in Major Ports has shown a healthy growth of more than four per cent in the last two years, despite global slowdown.
Counting the performance of Indian ports during 2015-16, Prime Minister said that Kandla Port in Gujarat breached the one hundred million traffic landmark and displayed twenty per cent improvement in efficiency and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust registered a net profit of ten billion rupees helped by a twelve per cent increase in efficiency.
Similarly, India’s flagship companies like the Shipping Corporation, Dredging Corporation and the Cochin Shipyard have registered higher profits as compared to the previous year.
Modi released National Perspective Plan of the Sagarmala Programme.
Modi made special reference of Bharat Ratna Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar in his speech.
The Prime Minister said that the reason why this important Summit has been organised on the 14th of April 2016 because it is the 125th birth anniversary of a great son of India who also lived and worked in Mumbai.
“ I am referring to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, who was the architect of our Constitution. He is also the architect of the water and river navigation policy in India. I offer my profound respects to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar on this auspicious day. I also wish and pray that his wisdom continues to guide us in our efforts towards nation building,” Said Modi.
Many of us may not know that Babasaheb created two powerful institutions related to water, navigation and power. They were: The Central Waterways, Irrigation and Navigation Commission and The Central Technical Power Board. His observations while setting up these two organizations is a testimony to his great foresight.
Governor of Maharashtra Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis, Minister of the Republic of Korea Kim Young-Suk, Union Minister for Shipping, Nitin Gadkari were on the dais. The function started with Vedic chanting with reference to God Varuna.
More than 4500 dignitaries and delegates from around forty countries are participating in this Summit.