Govt relaxes norms for coastal movement of agriculture, farm products: Gadkari

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 04 Jun 2018 09:30:30


 

NEW DELHI,

IN A major policy initiative aimed at benefiting farmers, the Government has done away with the licensing permits for foreign vessels for coastal movement of agriculture, fishery and animal produce, besides allowing Indian citizens to charter ships for these, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said.


The move is also aimed at promoting processing of seafood at Indian hubs under Sagaramala initiative rather than processing of Indian seafood in Singapore before further exports to countries like Japan. “We have done away with the licensing requirement for plying of foreign flag vessels by foreign players on the coastal line of India for four kind of cargos - agriculture, horticulture, fisheries and animal husbandry. We have also allowed chartering of foreign vessel by Indian citizens, Indian incorporated entities and Indian registered societies for this,” Shipping Minister Gadkari said.


The main intent of the Government’s reform in the maritime sector is to see that farmers income increases and through lower logistic charges like transportation through sea would reduce costs, the Minister said.
“It is in continuation of a large number of initiatives Government of India is taking to increase farmers’ income in line with the Prime Minister’s objective to double farmers’ income,” Gadkari added.


The relaxation in licensing requirement has been given under section 407 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1958 and accordingly vessels with at least 50 per cent of total
cargo onboard constituted by these commodities are not required to obtain a license from the Director General of Shipping for coastal trade.


“The relaxation has been undertaken to enable farmers to access a large market profitability, widen the range of
goods to be marketed and lengthen the distance over which domestic trade can be conducted besides promoting trade and ease of doing business in India,” the Minister said.
Waterborne transportation is cheaper on a per kilometre basis with respect to transportation by rail or road and can profitably support movement of the produce to reach a wider geography of markets and be monetised, the Minister noted.