Legislation for stringent ship recycling norms this session: Mansukh Mandaviya

India is set to bring in a legislation in the ongoing winter session of Parliament, putting in place stringent standards for ship recycling that are expected to help it draw European and Japanese vessels for breaking.

Minister for state (independent charge) Mansukh Mandaviya said the proposed ship recycling Bill would help India emerge as the preferred destination, especially for countries in the European Union, for ship breaking and give a significant boost to the industry.

“The government will introduce the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 in the ongoing session of Parliament,” Mandaviya told in an interview.

The proposed legislation seeks to set up a monitoring body to ensure that recycling centres are in compliance with the Hong Kong Convention. It will be set up under the chairmanship of the director-general of shipping, he said, adding that India had already done lot of work towards raising standards followed at the ship-breaking yards.

More than 70 of the 131 plots, or breaking yards, at Alang in Gujarat have already conformed to the Hong Kong Convention, he said.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Wednesday approved India’s accession to the Hong Kong Convention, which calls for safer recycling of ships. Around 800 vessels are sent for breaking every year around the world. India accounts for around 30% of that work, with an average 250 ships recycled majorly at centre in Alang.

“The Bill will help increase downstream industries as well, and create more employment opportunities,” Mandaviya said.

A Norwegian delegation recently evinced interest in sending 40 ships for recycling to India given it framed a Ship Recycling Code within the framework of the Hong Kong Convention, Mandaviya said. “We are looking to grow our business by at least 25% with this accession,” he said.

Talking about the ports sector, Mandaviya said his ministry was working on a “one port, one industry” approach, where downstream industries on each port could be developed. “We have decided that on every port, basis its potential, one industry will come up. This will help cargo grow and industries can develop,” he said.

The shipping ministry is also working on a single digital portal for streamlining activity on and around ports.

Addressing the lack of capacity in the ship-building industry, Mandaviya said he was pushing local manufacturing of barges — long, flat bottomed boats for movement of bulk goods. “To encash our ship-building opportunity we are pushing barges and have decided to allow 20% subsidy on it,” the minister said.

More than 200 barges would be required in inland waterways over the next five years in India itself, he said, stressing on the potential for their manufacturing.