OREANDA-NEWS. April 12, 2016. The Minister for Road Transport ,Highways & Shipping , Shri Nitin Gadkari , while addressing correspondents of foreign media , at the Foreign Correspondents Club in New Delhi , said that, the first ever Maritime India Summit 2016 , scheduled to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in Mumbai on the 14th of April 2016 , is in pursuance of the Governments policy of giving prime importance to developing the countries infrastructure . The objective of the three-day Summit from 14th to 16th April 2016 is to attract potential investors to the vast opportunities that the various components of the Maritime Sector have on offer.40 countries in addition to India with Republic of Korea as the partner country will participate in the Summit. The Minister elaborated on various aspects of the Summit during his speech. He informed that Sagarmala had the portential to reduce logistic costs of shipping. He said , industrial clusters would also be created along the coast and fisheries would be promoted .He informed that a Port Rail Connectivity Corporation had been created with the responsibility of connecting industrial hubs to various ports by trains that would help the economy grow .

Shri Gadkari also highlighted the need to develop inland waterways as they had a tremendous potential to supplement transport , to create jobs and business opportunities for entrepreneurs and villages located along many inland waterways.

While answering questions the Minister said that adequate measures would be taken to ensure the security of the facilities created along India’s coastline from any terrorist threats and also efforts would be taken to see to it that the environmental concerns are also addressed while development is not impeded.

The Summit will have 13 thematic sessions on April, 14 and 15 and a high level CEOs forum on April, 14. The thematic sessions include sessions on Sagarmala - Port Led development; Ship Building, Ship Repair and Ship Breaking; Skill Development through Maritime Education & Training; Inland Water Transportation and Coastal Shipping; Hinterland Connectivity & Multi-Modal Logistics; Opportunities in International Shipping & Maritime Financing; Opportunities in Maritime States; Cruise Shipping & Lighthouse Tourism; Island Development & Aquatic Resources; Maritime Security and Counter-Piracy. 12 Union Ministers will chair/ participate in various sessions. In the CEOs Forum, 19 CEOs from abroad and 17 CEOs from India are expected to participate.

This event is intended to showcase, amongst other things, that; ( 1) India has made rapid strides in these sectors, over the years & specifically in the last two years, including through policy initiatives in the form of introduction of Indian Controlled Tonnage, cabotage dispensation for specialised vessels for a period of five years effective from 02.09.15, recent cabotage relaxation for laden EXIM containers & empties thereof for promoting aggregation & trans-shipment hubs, fiscal reliefs by way of several Customs, Central Excise & Service Tax exemption notifications,( 2) India is a very attractive investment destination in these areas & (3) a large no.of agreements are scheduled to be signed during the days one & two thereof, confirming India's commitment to take these segments of India's blue economy to the next level.

The event is intended to incrementally present the facts that; (1) major legislative reforms have been carried out in the past two years towards codification, rationalization & simplification of maritime statutes ,Acts, rules & regulations ( such as the preparation of a new Merchant Shipping Bill to replace the extant Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, proposed repeal of the Coasting Vessels Act, 1838, repeal of the vintage Admiralty Acts of 1839-1892 and introduction of a new Admiralty Act, amendments to the Multi Modal Transportation of Goods Act, 1992, repeal of 14 otiose Merchant Shipping Acts etc.) & (2) increasing rendition of various Govt. services to their end-users , stakeholders completely online on the e-governance framework which will make Government transactions footfall and hassle-free, cost-effective and efficient, also reining in discretion & corruption in the process.

The event will also unveil two major value added services to be offered by the Directorate General of Shipping, Government of India, on the e-medium:

(1) e-learning systems in the form of online course material access, interactive sessions with mentors, frequently asked questions etc. to be provided to all examinees of various grades of certificates of competencies (CoCs) through its web-enabled portal-- reportedly the first of its kind in the maritime world, anywhere.

(2) smart tablet based COCs exam platform for scribing the exam papers thereon (objective, subjective & drawings components), in lieu of the current paper based exam system. These e-tablets are compatible to the A-4 paper size of the present manual / paper format of these exams. This initiative too is not prevalent anywhere in the globe, in the maritime space.

During the three days of the Summit, an exhibition, along with exclusive demo sessions will showcase the latest technologies, products and services as well as help disseminate knowledge about the latest development in Maritime Sector. The exhibition has a special India Pavilion and dedicated pavilions for South Korea and Norway. A total of 200 companies are setting up stalls in the exhibition showcasing maritime competence and latest technologies.

A Special Ship Museum is being created at the venue by famous art director Shri Nitin Desai. This museum has depiction of India’s glorious maritime history and heritage.