Cabinet approves new Merchant Shipping Bill


New Delhi
The Cabinet today approved a new Merchant Shipping Bill by repealing the 58-year old law, a move that will promote ease of doing business, transparency and effective delivery of services.

"The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the Merchant Shipping Bill, 2016 for introducing it in Parliament," an official statement said.

The Merchant Shipping Bill, 2016, is a revamped version of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958. It provides for repealing of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, as well as the Coasting Vessels Act, 1838, it added.

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The Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, had become a bulky piece of legislation over the years as a result of various amendments carried out in the Act from time to time.

It was amended 17 times between 1966 and 2014, resulting in an increase in the number of sections to over 560. These provisions have been meticulously shortened to 280 sections in the Bill, the statement said.

Provisions of the Bill will simplify the law governing merchant shipping in India.

"Further, certain redundant provisions will be dispensed with and the remaining provisions will stand consolidated and simplified so as to promote ease of doing business, transparency and effective delivery of services," it added.

The significant reforms that will follow enactment of the Bill include augmentation of Indian tonnage promotion/ development of coastal shipping in India, introduction of welfare measures for seafarers and registration of certain residuary category of vessels not covered under any statute.

The Coasting Vessels Act, 1838, an archaic legislation of the British era providing for registration of non-mechanically propelled vessels to a limited jurisdiction of Saurashtra and Kutch, is proposed to be repealed since provisions have been introduced in the Merchant Shipping Bill 2016 for registration of all vessels for the whole of India.

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First Published: Nov 23 2016 | 8:57 PM IST

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