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Editorial: Equip Directorate General of Shipping With Additional Powers to Serve More

Port Wings, 11 Sept 2019:

The Directorate General of Shipping celebrated its 70th Foundation Day on 3 September, 2019. Minister of State for Shipping (I/C) and Chemical & Fertilizers Shri Mansukh Mandaviya launched the celebrations in Mumbai.

The DG Shipping, with branches in different locations of the country, has taken several initiatives in the past to ease the working of the Shipping industry.

When we celebrate the 70 years of existence now, we should not forget the role for former Shipping ministers – G K Vasan and Nitin Gadkari — played in revamping the institution that was caught in the web of archaic rules and colonial practices.

Both the former ministers through their able secretaries found all the weak links and rejuvenated with new set of rules which will be more flexible for governing the new age shipping sector.

The government revamped old Acts, easing of norms for Coastal Shipping, quality training and employment of seafarers, and introduced complete e-Governance modules.

It was during G K Vasan’s days when the government seriously thought of introducing electronic mode in maintaining information of seafarers, and eventually announced the digitization of continuo’s discharge certificate (CDC) regarded as maritime passport for sailors. And, it was followed by another visionary leader Nitin Gadkari, who infused fresh blood in the system by removing many Acts that were obsolete and could not be implemented due to change in shipping sector.

There have been reforms in Training and Seafarer’s welfare systems, introduction of  e- migrant and ISPL module in e-governance system ensuring maritime administration to be in the loop. The steps taken in the recent years have had significant impact on seafarers’ employment whose numbers have gone up substantially touching a figure of 2,08,000. The Ship registration in India has gone up by around 200 in the last 4 years and coastal traffic is expected to rise significantly. These initiatives are a part of the much larger ‘Sagarmala Project’ envisaged by the government. 

The minister admitted that there will be problems in each and every sector. If there are no challenges, we will not be able to evolve and grow. If we continue being in the safe zone, we will not progress and we will not be able to become competitive. We need to continuously innovate and adopt technology to remain competitive, said the Minister while addressing dignitaries during the 70th Foundation Day event.

On the policy front, the government is doing its bit. But, the stakeholders need to find different opportunities to grow were the words of wisdom from the Minister.

Hope the Government of India will seriously think of enhancing transparency in DG Shipping and take all the stakeholders into confidence while delivering from the sector.

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