Cabinet clears Major Port Authorities Bill, 2016:
The Union Cabinet approved the draft Major Port Authorities Bill, 2016 to replace the existing Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 in a bid to empower 12 major ports to perform with greater efficiency on account of full autonomy in decision-making.

1. Under the proposed Bill, Port Authority has now been given powers to fix tariff which will act as a reference tariff for purposes of bidding for PPP projects.

2. The Bill proposes to reduce the size of the board of the Port Authority from 17-19 to 11 members. The Board will include representatives of respective state governments, Railways Ministry, Defence Ministry and Department of Revenue along with a member representing employees of the Major Ports Authority.

The Ministry said a compact board with professional independent members will strengthen decision-making and strategic planning.

3. The Board of the Port Authority has been allowed to fix the scale of rates for other port services and assets including land.

4. The number of sections in the new Bill stand reduced to 65 from 134 in the Major Trusts Act of 1963.

5. An independent review Board has been proposed to carry out the “residual function of the erstwhile TAMP for major ports, to look into disputes between ports and PPP concessionaires, to review stressed PPP projects and suggest measures” to revive such projects.

6. It has been proposed to give the Board full powers to enter into contract, over planning and development, fixing of tariff except in national interest, security and emergency arising out of inaction and default.The present law requires the Centre’s approval in 22 such cases.