The Indian government is considering a new subsidy scheme for the ship-building industry to enable the sector to sustain its growth momentum.
The government is considering a new subsidy scheme for the ship-building industry to enable the sector to sustain its growth momentum. "The financing requirements of the ship-building industry needs to be reviewed in order to strengthen the industry," shipping secretary A P V N Sarma said here on Friday. The government had a subsidy scheme till August 2007, which entailed a 30 per cent ship building subsidy. While the government has yet to take a view, most probably it will continue with the scheme, he said. Sarma was delivering the inaugural address at the first India International Maritime Logistics Expo 2009 being held at the World Trade Centre from April 10-12, 2009.
Despite the current economic slowdown which has impacted the shipping industry, the government will go ahead with nearly 50 large projects which have been identified for the major ports with private partnership, he said. During 2008-09, the cargo handled by Indian ports witnessed a growth of 7 per cent as against 12 per cent in the previous year.
Urging industry to invest in the shipping sector, Sarma said that the government has permitted up to 100 pe cent foreign investment in the shipping sector. This will open up greater avenues for investments in the shipping and ship building sector, he said. Referring to the country's coastal shipping and inland waterways, Sarma said that there was tremendous potential in the sector which remained untapped. Three more inland waterways projects have been announced by the government recently and the industry is aiming at augmenting traffic in inland waterways and coastal shipping in the coming years.
Director general of shipping Lakshmi Venkatachalam said the directorate had already framed a draft coastal transport policy recognising coastal shipping as a dependable means of connectivity between ports. The draft policy aims at increasing the domestic cargo moved by coastal seaways to thrice its present size.
Further, there is need to integrate ship-building and shipping services as an integral and concomitant part of the development of policy initiatives in other vital sectors in the economy - be it energy, defence production, agriculture and rural development, Venkatachalam said.