Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Port Wings Editorial: States-Centre relationship paramount for overall growth


During Lok Sabha elections, the then BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate and now the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi had invoked Sardar Patel's legacy and emphasized that the destiny of the country would have been different had Patel become the first Prime Minister of Union of India.
Though there are still murmurs among the political class in the country about the forceful union of small and Princely states to make India a big country in Indian Ocean Region, Patel has weaved a garland of different states.
The wise men who wrote our constitution designed it in such a way that the state and Centre have to be on the same page, especially over matters related to overall development which come under the Concurrent List.
It is a federal structure, and nobody can get around it. Thus, showing disrespect to democratically elected people can't be a way out.
So, the smooth relationship between Centre and states of India is not only an important factor that could help to fix overall development, but also pave way for further bonding.

The Financial relationship between the Centre and the States is provided in the constitution. The constitution gives a detailed scheme of distribution of financial resources between Union and the States. The constitution makes a broad distinction between the power to levy a tax and the power to appropriate the proceeds of a tax. Thus the legislature which levies a tax is not necessarily the authority which retains the proceeds of a tax levied.
The constitution grants the Union Parliament exclusive power to levy taxes on several items. The state legislatures enjoy similar power with regard to several other specified items. In general, the Union Parliament levies taxes on items mentioned in the union list while the state legislatures levy taxes on items mentioned in the state list.
The Finance Commission advises the President, what percentage of the income tax should be retained by the centre, and what principles should be adopted to distribute the divisible pool of the income tax among the states. The commission also advises the President on the question of grants-in-aid to be given to the states.

The scheme of division of financial resources adopted in India is certainly very complicated. It also has the effect of making the states financially dependent on the centre. Such a scheme is certainly corrosive of autonomy of the states. States should be given more financial autonomy than is given now to make their political autonomy real.

Though the recent meeting of States and Centre has agreed in principle to hike the share of revenue for states, there are miles to go, where the actual development could take place.
If the Centre does not wish to understand the importance of state-centre relationship and continues with its big-brother attitude, then Centre would not be in a position to execute any big ticket projects.
The telling example of lack of coordination between states and centre is the announcement of smart cities, which has never moved beyond the announcement stage. Without the state governments’ node, land acquisition for smart cities cannot happen and as such, the project may not take off even after few decades.
So, it is time for the Centre to move towards a better (not bitter) relationship with states.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Customs Connects Kattupalli Port to all CFSs in Chennai for Exports


Port Wings News Network:

Giving a new option for export of containerized goods for EXIM fraternity in South India, Chennai Customs House  has issued a notification enabling L&T Kattupalli Port to connect all CFSs in Chennai for Exports on Jan 16.It may be noted that Kattupalli Port was already connected to all CFSs in Chennai for Imports since March 2014.
kict-logoKattupalli offers direct delivery of imports to ACP clients, also all ICDs and SEZs are already connected in customs ICEGATE system. Exports of factory sealed containers, SEZs and ICDs are already connected. Kattupalli with its world class facilities and congestion free approach roads provides trade and industry a modern and efficient gateway port at Chennai.
According to a public notice from Chennai Customs Commissionerate-II, many representations have been received from various stakeholders including trade, requesting for permitting port to port transshipment of export goods from the Chennai Sea Port to L & T Kattupalli Port.
According to EXIM fraternity, the notification will help the port to capitalise on the growing export market in the region as well as pose a huge challenge to Chennai Port  in future.
Based on the representations, the DG system was entrusted with the work of development of module in the ICES 1.5, for port to port transshipment.
As the system syncing could take some more time, the Chennai Customs has come out with a temporary procedure to permit such movements, hence the notification.
Under the arrangement, the CHA/exporter, Exporters who want to route their goods through L&T Kattupalli Port should file checklist for Shipping Bill for the purpose of assessment at Chennai Custom House with INKAT1 as port code. The Assessment of Shipping Bill for exports through Kattupalli Port is already done at Chennai Custom House by the EDC Section. This practice would continue.
The export goods, which are to be routed through L&T Port, have to be brought to the designated CFS's which are attached to INMAA1 for examination and stuffing in the presence of the Customs officer. The officers present at the concerned CFS would be given the login for INKAT1 for the purpose of examination. The Customs officers posted to the CFSs where the goods brought for examination should register the goods with L&T CFS as warehouse code. Then, the goods will be examined and the examination report will be submitted on ICES 1.5 under the INKAT1 site using the Warehouse Code pertaining to L&T CFS. In the departmental comments, the officer has to specifically mention the CFS at which examination is being done. Let Export Order (LEO) will be given by the concerned officer at the same CFS. The container will be sealed in the presence of the Customs Officer and stuffing report will be entered.
Subsequent to stuffing, the containers should be pasted with preprinted labels of size not less than 30cm x 30cm bearing the marks "L&T Port" in red color on white background and shall also be pasted with preprinted labels of size not less than 30cm x 30cm bearing the name of the CFS in short form. Then these containers will be allowed to move to L & T Port, after generating the gate passes and other procedures as usual.
The list of export goods with Shipping Bill Number, Container Number, Seal Number, Gate Out time, CFS Name, Gate Pass Number, trailer number, driver name, licence details and any other details required by Customs have to be submitted by the Custodians of respective CFSs to the AC (CFS) and AC/DC (Docks-Admin) in soft form on daily basis.
Upon reaching the L&T Port, the Preventive Officers posted on gate therein should verify the container number, seal number, intactness of container, intactness of seal, any signs of tampering of seal as well as containers and shall permit entry of the same inside the Port and shall sign "allowed for shipment" on the shipping bill.
Besides, L&T Port have to maintain the record of all these containers including Shipping Bill Number, Container Number, Seal Number, Gate Out time, CFS Name, Gate Pass Number, trailer number, driver name, licence details, Gate in time at L&T Port and any other details required by Customs in electronic form and submit the same to the AC (Port) and AC/DC (Docks-Admin) on daily basis, which will be considered as Landing Certificate. All these records will be tallied with the list received from the CFSs and any discrepancy noticed would be taken up further action as appropriate.
On completion of these procedures, the containers will then be loaded onto the vessel for the purpose of export as per the normal procedure at Kattupalli Port (INKAT1). EGM will be filed for Kattupalli Port. The drawback will be processed and EP copy will be generated as usual at Chennai Custom House.
The Custodians of the CFSs willing to avail of this facility should apply for the same to Enquiry Section of the Custom House. After the completion of inspection of those CFSs for demarcation of separate areas for cargo meant for L & T Port, those Custodians of CFSs should submit necessary bond and Bank Guarantee (BG) for export goods as required under Regulation 5(4) of the Handling of Cargo in Customs Areas Regulations, 2009, to the Enquiry Section, Custom House. The qualifying Custodians can also opt for amending the bond and BG submitted already, instead of executing fresh bond and BG.
Chennai Customs categorically reiterated that the Customs Cargo Service Providers including Custodians are also responsible for the safe and secure transit of goods as per Regulation 6(1)(k) of the Handling of Cargo in Customs Areas Regulations, 2009.
Besides, the Custodians of CFSs should also execute an indemnity bond undertaking to indemnify the Commissioner of Customs from any liability arising on account of damages caused or loss suffered on export goods, due to accident, damage, deterioration, destruction or any other unnatural cause during their receipt, storage, dispatch, transit from CFS to Port, or otherwise handling of such goods as per Regulation 5(4) of the Handling of Cargo in Customs Areas Regulations, 2009 , if not executed already.
While the Customs had announced that the notice is with immediate effect, any difficulty is foreseen or arises out of the implementation of the notice, the same may be brought to the notice of the Commissioner of Customs (Chennai II) for early solution.

Name of the CFS   Short Form
1 Vishrutha Logistics Ltd. Vishrutha
2 APM Terminals Inland Services APM
3 Sattva Conware Pvt. Ltd., Ponneri  Sattva3
4 Chandra CFS and Terminal Operators Pvt. Ltd.  Chandra
 5 Ennore Cargo Container Terminal Pvt. Ltd. ECCT
6 D.R. Logistics Pvt. Ltd. DRL
7 Sical Multimodal And Transport Ltd. Sical
8 German Express Shipping Agency (India ) Pvt. Ltd. GESA
9 Trlway Container Freight Station Pvt. Ltd. Triway
10 Sattva CFS and Logistics Private Limited Container Freight Station, Vichoor Sattva2
11 Kailash Shipping Services Pvt. Ltd. Kailash
12 Gateway Distriparks (South) Pvt. LTD. GDL
13 Sattva Hi-Tech and Conware Private Limited Sattval
14 Indian Corporate Business Centre Ltd. ICBC
15 Sanco Container Freight Station Sanco
16 Allcargo Logistics Container Freight Station AGL
17 Balmer Lawrie Balmer
18 Continental Warehousing Corporation (Nhava Seva) Ltd., Madhavaram Cont I
19 Sun Global Logistics Private Limited SGL
20 Glovis India Pvt.Ltd. GIL
21 Thiru Rani Logistic Pvt. Ltd. TRL
22 Viking Warehousing Container Freight Station Viking
23 Calyx Container Terminals Private Limited Calyx
24 Continental Warehousing Corporation Ltd., Red Hills Cont II
25 A.S.Shipping Agencies Private Ltd., Numbal Numbal
26 Central Warehousing Corporation, Madhavaram CWCM
27 Central Warehousing Corporation, Virugambakkam CWCV

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Govt should focus on nutrients than neutrinos

Port Wings Editorial, Jan 14, 2015:

By giving its nod for the India-based Neutrino Observatory Project in Tamil Nadu, the Government of India has opened Pandora’s Box.
The Neutrino research, which has immense physics potential, will have implications for astrophysics, phenomenology and particle physics. Neutrinos hold the key to several fundamental questions on the origin of the Universe and the energy production in stars. Neutrinos can be used for tomography of the earth and human body also and they are less hazardous than X-rays. Neutrinos may tell us more about dark energy and dark matter and ultimately help us exploit them as the earth is getting depleted of its material and energy sources.
The laboratory is coming up deep inside the mountains in Idukki-Theni districts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu for neutrino research. According to information available on public domain, the lab has to be located in deep underground with walls and roof of at least 1000 meter thickness for filtering the cosmic rays. There will be a big laboratory of 3432 sq meters in area and 32.5 meters in height and three smaller ones of 1600 sq m and 10 m high. The length of the tunnels will be 2491 meters and its portal of entry is in Theni district of TN. The projected life of the lab is 120 years. This mega science project of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) costing Rs 1,300 crores was approved for XIth five year plan.
According to anti-lab activists, INO site selection was not transparent. There are several issues concerning the safety of the people and the Eco-system which need to be discussed and resolved. First and foremost is the violation of Federal principles.
According to DAE, the tunnel will end at the Kerala border and the laboratories (caverns) will be in Tamil Nadu. From the sketch and descriptions given in the project documents, 700 meters of the tunnel and the main cavern and the two smaller ones will be under Kerala. Sanction has been obtained from the Government of Tamil Nadu. However, Kerala was not even been informed about the plan.
Since even a hairline crack in the wall (one km wide) or the roof can topple the detector, digging of wells or development projects like irrigation tunnels, mining etc. will have to be banned within a kilometer from the laboratory cave.
In other words, the activities in and around the project site will be neutralized and people living in and around the lab area has to obey the diktat of the project heads despite accepting the ecological disaster due to the project.
Well, India needs to improve its image on all available fronts, from economic to scientific and astrophysics to astronomy.
The government should prioritize its importance in executing science-related research projects, which are mainly to give the Indian scientists an international podium. However, it should not be overtaken when nutrients in question.

Monday, January 12, 2015

TNSA wishes to put Chennai on World Sailors’ map


Port Wings News Network:
In a city that hosts international events like the Chennai Open and the Chennai Marathon, the sport of sailing has gained prominence over the past decade and we wish to put Chennai on world sailors’ map, Mr. Ashok Thakkar, Commodore of Tamil Nadu Sailing Association (TNSA) has said.

Speaking to Port Wings, Mr Thakkar, a known personality among shipping fraternity and a sailing enthusiast, who has also served on the Board of Chennai Port Trust and headed the Hindustan Chamber of Commerce during its diamond Jubilee year said that setting up of a dedicated Tamil Nadu Sailing Academy in Chennai would not only help us provide a better training to budding sailors here, it will also attract the international sailors, who are out on high-seas throughout the year under different expeditions and circumnavigating around he globe  to visit Chennai regularly.


Q. Tell us about the TNSA, its activities?
Mr Thakkar:  Tamil Nadu Sailing Association, which began its journey in 2001 founded by a group of sailing enthusiast with the support of Union Government and Tamil Nadu state government, is a not-for-profit, non-political and non-sectarian association based in Chennai. The main objective of TNSA is to foster, encourage and train people in the sport of Sailing and allied Water Sports. The objective also includes building fraternal relations with other Yacht Clubs and Sailing Association in India and abroad. The three classes of boats that we started supporting  are --“Optimist”, the starter single-handed boat for sailors from the age of 7 to 15, The “Laser4.7” for which the first nationals were hosted by TNSA   and “29er” a double-handed skiff for sailors up to the age of 19.

Q. Tell us about Sailing as sports?
AT: Sailing teaches and trains the child to face challenges in life and also the brain to concentrate for a long duration of time and builds immense self confidence. It is not just taking on winds that blow against you but is a complex skill set that train a person in strategy / concentration and physical endurance and most import self confidence, decision making and dedication. It would make a person hold in good stead in whatever the career he or she may choose later. TNSA promote sailing as a healthy and enjoyable sport for pleasure and competition for everyone. We provide the right platform for Indian sailing community, in particular youth sailors, with a terrific opportunity to learn and develop into future world champions in the segment.

Q. Tell us about growth of sailing as sports in Chennai over the years?

AT: Since 2004, two years after TNSA’s inception, we conducted the first ever National Championships in three classes simultaneously, and since then TNSA has been conducting National Sailing Championships every year. With the largest youth fleet in the country, TNSA sailors have been dominating the junior level nationally and marking their presence globally. It is wonderful to be spearheading the growth of a nascent sport in Tamil Nadu.  TNSA also brought to India the only International Youth Regatta where the best from the world come and sail. With regular events, there is no doubt that they will spark great interest in the sport and draw more youngsters to sailing.

Q. Shed some light on ups and downs in TNSA?

AT: During 2004 Tsunami, more than 16 boats used for training by the sailors were badly damaged and the loss had put a question mark over the future of association. However, we overcame the tragedy with Central government’s grant and members support to buy new boats for training.  In the Ups we were the first to have introduced the Laser4.7 championships and also introduced a new class the 29er and 49er into Indian sailing.

Q. Elaborate us about the Tamil Nadu Sailing Academy proposal?

AT: Though we enjoy total support from the Tamil Nadu government as well as the Centre in promoting sailing as sports, setting up an academy for sailing in Chennai has been our consistent endeavor. We already have basic infrastructure in our association and there are students who are learning sailing from us. But once the academy is launched, it will give a big boost to the sailing sport. We are in regular touch with the Tamil Nadu government and Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT), Yachting Association of India and Sports Authority of India. We are hopeful for a positive reply from the government soon on the academy.

Q. What are the advantages of having such Academy for sailing in Chennai?

AT: As a setup, Academy for Sailing in Chennai would augur well for the growth of water sports in the region. TNSA had studied a few academy models from world’s leading sailing nations and the success they achieved after setting up academies. Specifically after seeing the growth of the sports in those countries, we feel that this academy will not just help Tamilnadu but also our Country as a whole. Certain cold countries are unable to sail during winters as the water is either too cold or has frozen they can also come to Chennai and continue with their training and help Indian sailing to pace and learn along with them.
We call our Beach the Marina Beach but there is no Marina that misnomer will get corrected. We will be creating another recreation facility for the citizens of Chennai. Looking at sailing more people may things of taking a career in Merchant Navy or Indian Navy.  The waters of Cooum can be maintained clean and once the same is achieved the mosquito menace faced by the city will be reduced. Employments opportunity can be created also.

Q, Why are you so confident that you will be able to achieve this goal now?

AT: The present Government when in power during 2001 had accorded the permission to set up the TNSA and also accorded permission for the Secretary Sports to be on the Governing Council of TNSA.
The State has several schemes under which the sportsperson in every discipline are being supported financially. Infact the Elites Sports person Scheme of the state Government has supported the two TN girls to train for the Olympics and they have brought the first Girls Asian Games Medal for India. The Chief of Naval Staff is also creating opportunities for sailors to train and also enroll in the Indian navy.  He is also trying to create more centres to spread the sport and this will also help in creating a security blanket around the coastal waters. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Port Wings Editorial: Can NITI Aayog restart India?


After extensive consultation across the spectrum of stakeholders including State governments, domain experts and relevant institutions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had promised to get rid of Nehruvian Era legacy --Planning Commission, gave life to ruling BJP’s “Bharatiya” aspirations the NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) few days ago.

The NITI Aayog will work towards many objectives, mainly to evolve a shared vision of national development priorities, sectors and strategies with the active involvement of States in the light of national objectives.

Though the main opposition Indian National Congress Party quickly disapproved the Modi Govt’s decision to rename the Planning Commission, it is now up to the Centre to prove it is not a futile exercise, as claimed by Congress, by injecting new blood in the centuries’ old institution.

According to the structure, the institution will serve as ‘Think Tank’ of the Government-a directional and policy dynamo.
NITI Aayog will provide Governments at the central and state levels with relevant strategic and technical advice across the spectrum of key elements of policy, which includes matters of national and international import on the economic front, dissemination of best practices from within the country as well as from other nations, the infusion of new policy ideas and specific issue-based support.
The Planning Commission was set up on March 15th, 1950 through a Cabinet Resolution.  Nearly 65 years later, the country has metamorphosed from an under-developed economy to an emergent global nation with one of the world’s largest economies.

Until now, Planning Commission remained just a body of elites and never even tried to understand the grass-root level problems of Indians. Having grasped the understanding the common man and the visible disconnect between Raja and Prajah, Prime Minister Modi evolved a workable mechanism of NITI Aayog, which is undoubtedly envisaged to link the planning and execution parts between the Centre and states.

Until government systems are completely revamped, there is a Plan versus non-Plan distinction in expenditure, not quite the same as the revenue versus capital distinction. 
However, now the ball is in the court of Centre to prove NITI Aayog is better than Planning Commission in transforming India.
Undoubtedly, its going to be a tough challenge for Prime Minister Modi to prove beyond any shred of doubt.
Only time will tell whether NITI Aayog is old wine in new bottle or really brand new vision in new avatar.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Major Port at Colachel economically unviable: Local fishermen

"Even if the Centre decides today, it will take a minimum five years to dock the first vessel at the port. By then, Vizhinjam Port would be fully developed as a transshipment hub on the International sea route. Under such circumstances, the port project would become economically unviable."


Port Wings News Network:

The proposed Major Port at Colachel (by the Union government) is not economically viable because of lack of industrial activity in the hinterland and due to Vizhinjam Port, being built hardly 50 kms away from Colachel, Mr S A Mahesh, Founder of All India Traditional Fishermen Association and a vocal voice for fishermen in the region.

Speaking to Port Wings after repeated reports on mainstream media that Colachel is soon going to become a Major Port, Mr Mahesh said, “As of now, the Colachel Port is under the administrative control of the Tamil Nadu Government and the state government is well on course to develop it as a modern fishing harbor.”


Q. Tell us about the background of Colachel?

S A Mahesh: Colachel is a second grade Municipal town situated on the west coast of Kanyakumari District. People of Colachel do a variety of jobs including fishing with catamarans, deep sea fishing with mechanized boats, exporting fish, coconut fibre production, fibre works, coir making and palm fibre works. Colachel Harbour on the Malabar coast, 20 km North-West of Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of peninsular India, serves as a base for thousands of fishermen living along the coast of Colachel.

Q. What is the current status of the Colachel Harbour and how many fishing boats and fishermen are dependent on the port for livelihood?

Mahesh: Based on local fishermen’s request, the Tamil Nadu government is developing Colachel as modern state-of-the-art fishing harbor. More than 500 mechanised boats and about 1000 fibre fishing boats are operating out of Colachel Fishing Harbour. Besides, thousands of families are dependent on the harbour for their livelihood.

Q. After strong objection from local community and fishermen in 2008, proposal for developing Colachel Port as container hub dropped. What is your stand now?

Mahesh: As a Son of the Soil, my stand is as same as in 2008. We don’t subscribe to the false projection that such developments bring economic prosperity to the people here. Our experience from the previous such projects, be it Chennai or Karaikal, all such promises proved total humbug. It is like sacrificing thousands of fishermen families for a few wealthy people, who will draw benefits out of those port projects.

Q. If suppose the state government or Centre comes out with port projects despite your opposition, what would the local community's stand on the issue?

Mahesh: Our Stand will not differ at any point of time. Since the State Government, which has the control over the port, is developing it as a modern fishing harbour, there will be fewer options for them to convert it into Centre-managed Major Port in near future. While the Centre can persuade the State govt and eventually convince them for the Port, there are several practical difficulties in notifying the fishing harbour as Major Port.

Q. Centre pitching for the international standard port at Colachel mainly due to its proximity to international sea route and natural depth. Are they right in pitching for it?

Mahesh: In our view, Central Government should focus on the development of India than independent states. Vizhinjam Port, which is taking wings slowly, is located just 50 km away from the proposed Colachel Major Port. Even if the Centre decides today, it will take a minimum five years to dock the first vessel at the port. By then, Vizhinjam Port would be fully developed as a transshipment hub on the International sea route. Under such circumstances, the port project would become economically unviable.