India to begin 23 waterways by 2030: PM

Maritime 2030

NEW DELHI: Inviting the world to come to India and be a part of the country’s growth trajectory, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced that

India aims to operationalize 23 waterways by 2030.

The Prime Minister further said that India is very serious about growing in the maritime sector

and emerging as a leading Blue Economy of the world. Speaking on the occasion of ‘Maritime India Summit 2021’ through video conferencing, he said through the focus areas of upgradation of infrastructure, boosting reform journey in maritime sector, India aims to strengthen the vision of ‘Aatamnirbhar Bharat’.

Modi asserted that “ours is a government that is investing in waterways in a way that was never seen before.” “Domestic waterways are found to be cost effective and environment friendly ways of transporting freight. We aim to operationalise 23 waterways by 2030.” The Prime Minister noted that instead of a piecemeal approach focus is on the entire sector as one and informed that capacity of major ports have increased from 870 million tonnes in 2014 to 1,550 million tonnes now.

Indian ports now have measures such as: Direct port Delivery, Direct Port Entry and an upgraded Port Community System (PCS) for easy data flow. Our ports have reduced waiting time for inbound and outbound cargo. Modi also informed that mega ports with world class infrastructure are being developed in Vadhavan, Paradip and Deendayal Port in Kandla in Gujarat.

He further pointed out that India has as many as 189 lighthouses across its vast coastline. “We have drawn up a programme for developing tourism in the land adjacent to 78 lighthouses. The key objective of this initiative is to enhance development of the existing lighthouses and its surrounding areas into unique maritime tourism landmarks.”

The Prime Minister announced that steps are also being taken to introduce urban water transport systems in key states and cities such as Kochi, Mumbai, Gujarat and Goa. He said that the government has recently widened the ambit of the maritime sector by renaming the Ministry of Shipping as Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways so that work happens in a holistic manner.

“The government is also focusing on the domestic ship building and ship repair market. To encourage domestic shipbuilding approval has been given to the Shipbuilding Financial Assistance Policy for Indian Shipyards.” Modi informed that the Ministry of Port Shipping and Waterways has created a list of 400 investable projects. “These projects have an investment potential of $31 billion or Rs 2.25 lakh crores.”

Talking about the Maritime India Vision 2030, he said it outlines the priorities of the government. Continuing with India’s focus on trade and economic linkages with the BIMSTEC and IOR nations, the Prime Minister said India plans to enhance investment in infrastructure and facilitate mutual agreements by 2026.

He said the government is in the process of installing solar and wind-based power systems at all the major ports across the country and aims to increase usage of renewable energy to more than 60 per cent of total energy by 2030 in three phases across Indian ports.

Modi concluded with exhortation to the global investors, saying “India’s long coastline awaits you. India’s hardworking people await you. Invest in our ports. Invest in our people. Let India be your preferred trade destination. Let Indian ports be your port of call for trade and commerce.”