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05 Mar 2018
Indian government all set to make ports a Rs 1.42 trillion investment by 2035
Credit : TSO Bureau


"With road development in fast track, the government now seems to have moved its focus towards development of ports, which have both financial and strategic implications. Our country has the added advantage of being surrounded by water on three sides. In the backdrop of the above, the government had introduced the Sagarmala project under the ‘Make in India’ initiative to promote development in the country by harnessing the 7500 km long coastline. Under the scheme, the government has envisioned a total of 189 undertakings for modernisation of ports involving an investment of Rs. 1.42 trillion by 2035. The National Perspective Plan In 2016, the government came up with the National Perspective Plan under the Sagarmala project, for the comprehensive development of India’s coastline and maritime sector. As per the projections mentioned in the plan, the industry shall generate 10 million jobs which include four million direct jobs in the next ten years. The maritime agenda for this decade, i.e. 2011-20 has targeted to generate employment for 2.5 million persons by 2020 in the core shipbuilding as well as ancillary and supporting industry sector. To put the projections in context, between 2009-10 and 2015-16, the total number of jobs created stood at 75 million across industries. Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari expected the profits from 12 major ports in the country to touch Rs. 7000 crore, nearly doubling from Rs. 3000 crore, three years from when the current government began its term. The minister expected an investment of Rs. 15 lakh crores under the project out of which Rs 4 lakh crore is expected to be assigned for road connectivity, port-rail connectivity, modernisation and mechanisation of ports. Already, work worth Rs 2.80 lakh crore is said to have commenced. Developments along the ports Apart from the development of ports, the government has also proposed to develop zones (SEZs) along the coastline around the ports. The zones would be converted into manufacturing hubs, supported by port modernisation projects, and could span 300–500 km of the coastline. The government is also looking to develop the inland waterway sector as an alternative to road and rail routes to transport goods to the nation’s ports. The job creation that shall take place in the SEZs is incidental to the development of ports that shall be taking place as part of the Sagarmala project. Shedding light on the development of an SEZ in Mumbai which is part of the Sagarmala project, the minister said that investment in SEZ would be to the tune of Rs. 40,000 crores and it is expected to generate close to 1.25 lakh jobs. India has a significant geographical advantage of having a long coastline, and given the importance of the maritime routes between the east and west, ports can play an essential role in achieving the financial and employment targets giving the size of the opportunity. Apart from the financial implications, development of ports is also required from a strategic standpoint if India is to emerge as a major player in manufacturing and export sectors and trading of goods between countries. "
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