To strengthen the country’s maritime training infrastructure, Maritime body, the Maritime Union of India (MUI) said in an official statement that it is seeking spending of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds by 12 major ports of India, which are under the control of the central government namely, Mumbai, Deendayal (erstwhile Kandla), Mormugao, JNPT, Cochin, New Mangalore, Chennai, Kamarajar (earlier Ennore), V O Chidambarnar, Paradip, Visakhapatnam and Kolkata (including Haldia).
“India’s oldest union of merchant navy officers, MUI has sought CSR support from 12 major ports of India to strengthen the country’s maritime training infrastructure,” said a concerned official.
The Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020, which was passed by the Lok Sabha last month seeks to provide greater autonomy in decision-making to 12 major ports in the country and professionalise their governance by setting up boards.
Amar Singh Thakur, General Secretary, MUI said, “The Bill provides that every major port’s board may use its CSR funds for providing various social benefits, including skill development. We urge these ports to spend a sizeable amount of CSR funds in upgrading maritime skills of Indian seafarers in the years to come.”
The MUI said since the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020 explicitly mentions that CSR benefits could be provided to the employees of port’s board, customers, business partners, local communities, environment and the society at large, thus, the major ports of India should also offer CSR support to skilling initiatives aimed at increasing the global share of Indian seafarers, it said.
“Since the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020 will apply to the major ports of Chennai, Cochin, Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Kandla, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Mangalore, Mormugao, Paradip, V.O. Chidambaranar and Vishakhapatnam; the huge corpus of CSR funds will prove to be extremely beneficial for all seafarers residing across various states of India,” added Thakur.
The MUI also demanded that every port should invite the suitable representation from Indian seafaring community in the proposed composition of the Port Board which will replace the existing Port Trust.