Wednesday, June 23, 2021
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Reforms in Indian shipping

The new government must carry out reforms in Indian shipping sector to improve operational efficiency and profitability of the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI). Even though SCI is a national carrier but it has failed to operate in a professional manner. A consultative group should be created to oversee and assist its functioning. India has a very long coastline but we do not have sufficient dry or floating docks for the purpose of dry docking our own ships. Mostly we carry our ships to China for performing this activity.

Indian Maritime education system is mired in corruption. Permission to open new colleges is being given indiscriminately without taking into consideration the quality of education and employability of the students passing out from these institutions. Inland water transportation should have been developed amicably by now but a radical approach has never been followed. Its functioning gets affected on account of bureaucratic hurdles. For instance, the customs department; do not wish to let go their control and ports also want to preserve their authority. Where is the cargo located its contents and it has to move from which port to which destination what steps are being taken and by whom, such aspects have not been followed in detail. There is zero accountability. All these tasks must be undertaken in an integrated manner.

As mentioned by me in my previous article, the IAS officers must be inducted after completing two years of national service. Later, continuous training and re-training must be imparted to these officers enabling them to update their knowledge and follow the best practices concerning the department that they may head. Currently, we have officers heading a department without adequate knowledge of the subject. A consultative committee must be appointed to oversee the operations of the department.

We are lagging behind in the matter pertaining to ship building. Some progress has been achieved but much more needs to be done. Even though we have some efficient naval architects but they are not given enough encouragement and responsibility. In order to carry out these tasks we need a pool of technicians. For example, three is shortage of skilled electricians and plumbers. Talented youth must be selected and training must be imparted to them in these vocation and services of foreign trainers must be availed.

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