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Draft Indian Port Bill

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Infrastructure- Port


Source: PIB

Direction: Go through the provisions. Note down a few points. Understand the issue with Indian ports and why this bill was needed to address those issues.

Context: Recently, the government circulated Draft Indian Ports Bill, 2022 for wider consultation. It has major objectives of ensuring coordination between States and centres; prevent pollution; address issues with dispute resolution systems and use data for the development of the port.


Need for the Bill: Indian ports are governed by Indian Ports Act 1908 (which is more than 110 years old) and Major Port Trust Act, 1963. Also, India’s ports are falling behind its Asian competitors (Sri Lanka, Singapore) in terms of cargo handled and infrastructure facilities.


About the Bill:

      • Aim: It seeks to repeal and replace the existing Indian Ports Act 1908, which is more than 110 years old.
      • Significant provisions of the Bill:
        • Environmental compliance: The bill will ensure the prevention and containment of pollution at ports, by complying with the maritime treaties and international instruments to which India is a party
          • India has signed the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL)
        • Institutional changes proposed:
          • Empower and establish State Maritime Boards and State Maritimes Development Council for effective administration, control and management of non-major ports in India.
          • Provide adjudicatory mechanisms for redressal of port-related disputes
          • Establish a national council for fostering structured growth and development of the port sector.
          • Constitution of maritime State Development Fund
        • Benefit of the Bill: It will ensure optimum utilisation of the coastline of India, address logistics bottlenecks and help India emerge as a major trading hub.


Status of Indian Ports:

      • There are 13 major ports and over 200 non-major and minor ports in India.
      • Up to 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)is allowed under the automatic route for port and harbour construction and maintenance projects.
      • Significance of the port sector: India has over 7500 Km long coastline. About 95% of India’s trade by volume (and 65% trade by value) is done through maritime transport.
      • Administration: Major Ports are under the Union list (owned and managed by the central government through a board of trustees) while minor ports are under state administration.
      • Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNP) has become the first major 100% landlord portin India, having all berths being operated on the PPP model. (more on this on 21st July CA) (also see diagram below)



Reforms in the port sector need to be supplemented by scientific and consultative planning, with a keen focus on ever-increasing safety, security and environmental issues.


Insta Links

Sagarmala Project

(Sagarmala project: To promote “Port-led development” along India’s 7500 km long coastline by developing Coastal Economic Zones (CEZ)


Mains Link

Relate this topic with what are the issues plaguing the ports sector in India (e.g. India doesn’t have a deep port with a sufficient draft for larger container vessels; India’s eastern coast doesn’t have a good harbor; dependency on Sri Lanka and Singapore for transshipment and saturated major ports). What is the Indian Port Ecosystem? Then answer this Qn.

Q. Discuss the prospects for ports in India. What are the issues and challenges with Indian Ports? Examine. (250 Words)


Prelims Link

Try to learn more about Indian position in logistics (As per the 2018 World Bank’s logistics performance index, India ranked 44 out of 160 countries (slipped from 35th rank in 2016)); about Sagarmala Project (link given above), names (including location) of major ports in India (India’ latest port is Vadhavan Port (MH)) and Project UNNATI (seeks to enhance the operational and financial performance of major ports)


Consider the following pairs: (UPSC 2014)

Hills                                   Region

Cardamon Hills     :      Coromandel Coast

Kaimur Hills         :       Konkan Coast

Mahadeo Hills       :     Central India

Mikir Hills             :       North-East India

Which of the above pairs are correctly matched?

(a) 1 and 2

(b) 2 and 3

(c) 3 and 4

(d) 2 and 4

Answer: C