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Parliamentary committee pulls up shipping ministry for underperformance

New Delhi: A parliamentary standing committee has criticised India’s shipping ministry for underperformance in various areas.

Among the issues cited was the fact that the average utilisation of funds during the first half of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan (2012-17) was only 55.45%, which the panel felt was “very low, just above the halfway mark”. The committee said that, since the beginning of the Twelfth Plan, there had been a consistent decline in the utilisation of plan funds by the ministry.

“The committee is clueless about how far the ministry will be able to achieve its ambitious plan for capacity addition to ports by 1.53 times the existing capacity at the end of the 12 Plan,” the report said.

Fund allocation towards water transport was also criticised. “Water transport has got only symbolic allocations during the cited plan period,” the report said. “The port sector has less allocation in 2015-16, compared to the budget expenditure of 2014-15. Many major ports have been neglected during budget allocations.”

The report also declared that the scarcity of allocations towards the Cochin port, Haldia Dock and Visakhapatnam port would adversely affect the revenue earnings of the Dredging Corporation of India (DCI), as most dredging works are carried out by the state-run corporation at these ports.

The committee pointed out that DCI had managed to lower its operational losses during the last two years and finally managed to register a profit, despite having overdue outstandings amounting to INR6.94bn ($110m) from the major ports coming under the central government’s control.


Shirish Nadkarni

Shirish Nadkarni is a management consultant and freelance international journalist, who has been writing on all spheres of Indian business for the past three decades for a number of reputed overseas publications. An avid sportsman, Nadkarni has represented India in international veterans' badminton since 1997, and was the 55+ age group doubles world champion in 2005.
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