Government to boost investment in the shipping sector ;
lays thrust on inland waterways.
Union Minister for Shipping Nitin Gadkari has said that the government is keen on boosting investment in the shipping sector with a special thrust on promoting inland water transport and coastal shipping.
Speaking at the International Day of the Seafarers in Mumbai today, Mr Gadkari said ‘”Infrastructure development is the backbone of the economy, and we need to invest in it adequately. Besides it also creates employment opportunities”
Mr.Gadkari informed that the government is keen on developing inland water transport, as a cost-effective, less-polluting, fuel saving transportation option. “For this purpose we are considering to launch ‘Pradhan Mantri Jal Parivahan Yojana’ on the lines of the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana” he added.
The Minister said the shipping sector has immense growth potential in India, provided we upgraded our ports and improved port infrastructure and connectivity. He observed that only 8% of India’s international trade is being carried by Indian flagships, while more than 80% of Indian seamen are working for foreign carriers.
Mr. Gadkari underlined the government’s commitment to the philosophy of development (vikas ki rajneeti) and promised quick decisions to fast-track infrastructure projects. He also promised to untangle overlapping acts and provisions hindering decision making .
On this occasion, Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari also promised a slew of welfare measures for seafaring sailors, including early ratification of the ILO’s Maritime Labour Convention 2006 that looks after conditions of employment, minimum qualification requirement, accommodation and recreational facilities, health care and social security protection aspects. Mr. Gadkari said his government recognizes the importance of seafarers and is committed to ensuring their welfare.
The Minister further said that his Ministry has taken up with the Finance Ministry, the issue of Income Tax waiver for Indian Seafarers to ensure level playing field for Indian shipping companies.
On the occasion of the Day of the Seafarers, the Shipping Minister Mr. Nitin Gadkari felicitated Indian sailor Aman Sharma, who was held captive by Somali pirates for nearly four years. The 23 year old sailor from Himachal Pradesh was set free earlier this month. Mr. Gadkari said, young Aman Sharma represented the resilience of an Indian sailor.
Earlier, upon arrival at the Swatantraveer Sawarkar Smarak Auditorium, the venue of the Seafarers’ Day function, the Minister was given a Guard of Honour by the cadets of the Indian Maritime University, Mumbai. Secretary Shipping – Vishwapati Trivedi, DG Shipping – Gautam Chatterjee, CMD of Shipping Corporation of India – A K Gupta were also present on the occasion.
International Day of the Seafarers’ is now part of the United Nations’ annual list of observances. It is observed across the world by maritime nations on June 25th every year to pay tribute to over 1.5 million seafarers for their unique, silent and often overlooked contribution.
PIB Mum|MD/ AS