Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam – 11 February 2021

In Today’s News:

  1. Meri Saheli Initiative
  2. Major Ports Authorities Bill passed.

1. Meri Saheli Initiative

News Summary

‘Meri Saheli’ initiative information was given by the Minister of Railways, Commerce & Industry and Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Shri Piyush Goyal in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.

Prelims GS – Governance

Meri Saheli:

(Note: The following points may also be used for women related safety and security measures taken by the Govt of India.)

  • ‘Meri Saheli’ initiative was launched as Pilot Project by Railway Protection Force (RPF) across the South Eastern Railway for the security of women passengers in trains originating in that zone.
  • Considering its success in instilling a sense of security among women passengers, this initiative has been rolled over to all zonal railways across the Indian Railways network from 17.10.2020.
  • Meri Saheli Initiative was launched to provide safety and security to lady passengers traveling by trains for their entire journey from originating station to terminating station.
  • Dedicated teams of lady RPF personnel have been formed across all zonal railways for its implementation.
  • Presently, 1176 women RPF personnel are being deployed for this purpose on an average daily basis across the Indian Railways network.

Click here to know more about the Meri Saheli initiative in PIB.

2. Major Ports Authorities Bill passed

News Summary

Parliament on 10.2.2021 passed the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020. Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State (I/C) for Ports, Shipping &Waterways moved the bill in Rajya Sabha and it was passed. Now the Bill will go to the President of India for his assent.

Prelims GS – Governance/Infrastructure

Major ports of India:
  • The Major Ports are under the Union List while the Non-Major Ports are under the Concurrent List of the Constitution of India.
  • Hence, Major Ports are under the administrative control of the Government of India
  • The Non-major ports are governed by the respective Maritime State Governments.
  • India has 12 major ports.
    1. Deendayal (formerly known as Kandla),
    2. Mumbai,
    3. JNPT,
    4. Marmugao,
    5. New Mangalore,
    6. Cochin,
    7. Chennai,
    8. Kamarajar (earlier Ennore),
    9. V O Chidambarnar(Thoothukudi),
    10. Visakhapatnam,
    11. Paradip(Odisha) and
    12. Kolkata (including Haldia)

Mini Insights

Mains  GS3 – Infrastructure(Ports)

(Note: The following points have been taken from the official PIB Press Release. The topic seems to be a landmark bill and may assume greater significance in the Mains Exams in the future.)

Salient Features of the Major Port Authorities Bill 2020: –
  1. The Bill is more compact in comparison to the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 as the number of sections has been reduced to 76 from 134 by eliminating overlapping and obsolete Sections.
  2. The new Bill has proposed a simplified composition of the Board of Port Authority which will comprise of 11 to 13 Members from the present 17 to 19 Members representing various interests. A compact Board with professional independent Members will strengthen decision making and strategic planning. Provision has been made for the inclusion of representatives of State Government in which the Major Port is situated, Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Defence and Customs, Department of Revenue as Members in the Board apart from a Government Nominee Member and a Member representing the employees of the Major Port Authority.
  3. The role of the Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) has been redefined. Port Authority has now been given powers to fix tariffs which will act as a reference tariff for purposes of bidding for PPP projects. PPP operators will be free to fix tariff- based on market conditions. The Board of Port Authority has been delegated the power to fix the scale of rates for other port services and assets including land.
  4. An Adjudicatory Board has been proposed to be created to carry out the residual function of the erstwhile TAMP for Major Ports, to look into disputes between ports and PPP concessionaires, to review stressed PPP projects and suggest measures to review stressed PPP projects and suggest measures to revive such projects and to look into complaints regarding services rendered by the ports/ private operators operating within the ports.
  5. The Boards of Port Authority have been delegated full powers to enter into contracts, planning, and development, fixing of tariff except in national interest, security, and emergency arising out of inaction and default. In the present MPT Act, 1963 prior approval of the Central Government was required in 22 instances.
  6. The Board of each Major Port shall be entitled to create a specific master plan in respect of any development or infrastructure.
  7. Provisions of CSR & development of infrastructure by the Port Authority have been introduced.
  8. Provision has been made for safeguarding the pay & allowances and service conditions including pensionary benefits of the employees of major ports
Significance of Major Port Authorities Bill:
  • With a view to promote the expansion of port infrastructure and facilitate trade and commerce, the Major Port Authorities Bill 2020 bill aims at decentralizing decision-making and infusing professionalism in the governance of major ports.
  • It imparts faster and transparent decision making benefiting the stakeholders and better project execution capability.
  • The Bill is aimed at reorienting the governance model in central ports to the landlord port model in line with the successful global practice.
  • This will also help in bringing transparency in operations of Major Ports.
  • This will empower the Major Ports to perform with greater efficiency on account of full autonomy in decision making and by modernizing the institutional framework of Major Ports.

Click here to view the official PIB Press release.



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