Shri G.K. Vasan,
Hon’ble Ministers of Ports from various Maritime States,
Shri Pradeep K Sinha, Secretary (Shipping),
Principal Secretaries and Secretaries from various States,
Joint Secretaries and officers of Central Ministries and State Governments,
Chairmen and Heads of various Ports and Organisations,
As the local MP, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to each one of you. I am very pleased that the 14th MSDC Meeting, and my first, is being held in Mumbai.
The Secretary, Ministry of Shipping has already outlined the agenda items and I’m sure my senior colleague Vasanji will elaborate on them.
I would only like to say that during the past two months that I’ve been a part of this ministry, I’ve come to learn about India’s enormous potential in the maritime sector.
Whether its commercial and trade opportunities, transportation or even tourism and recreational opportunities, it’s fair to say that India’s coastline is one of her most untapped and under-utilized natural resources.
To achieve growth in each of these areas, which is good for the economies of coastal states as well as the centre, it’s important that we enhance cooperation and coordination amongst ourselves. This is also critical in order to strengthen India’s coastal security, vessel traffic management and environmental preservation efforts. In fact, we must expand our cooperation to develop a economic strategy in conjunction with other State and Central ministries that deal with road and rail transportation, infrastructure and logistics.
The Ministry of Shipping, Government of India is implementing a slew of reforms that we hope will provide a boost to the maritime sector. Infact, for 2012-13, the ministry aims to award 42 projects, of which 29 are through the PPP route and the total capacity addition would be 245 million tonnes. We are working to provide incentives to our shipping industry and sea-farers, attract investments in the port sector and National Waterways, to increase port capacity and efficiency, and develop lighthouses, scattered across our coastline, into tourism hubs.
I’m sure we will have fruitful deliberations on all these issues today and I hope that we can collectively convert these deliberations into positive outcomes. I also hope you get to enjoy your stay in Mumbai. Once again, welcome and thank you.
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