The Bill, tabled in Parliament, is to be taken up for discussion in the budget session.
On a day, when the Chief Economic Advisor, Arvind Subramaniam, praised the Goods and Services Tax implementation and said that it would be a game changer, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said the Bill will not be tabled in Parliament in this session.
Jaitley said that the bill would be tabled in Parliament in the Budget session of Parliament. Reports had suggested that there had been a breakthrough in negotiations between the Centre and the States, and that the GST amendments would be taken up in Parliament in this session.
This session however, has been marred by disruptions in the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is in a minority, with almost the entire Parliament session already washed out.
There were also reports that the Tamil Nadu CM had also opposed provisions in the GST and had said that the Bill should be deferred till the outstanding issues are resolved.
The Tamil Nadu CM wrote to PM Narendra Modi and said that the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers should be allowed to come to a consensus before taking up the bill in Parliament, PTI reported.
Unfortunately, at the moment, most Indian ports lack deep drafts, cranes with sufficient reach to serve mega vessels
When Sri Lanka sought the India's assisstance in the development of Hambantota harbour, for reasons that have not been made public so far, India did not show any interest. As a result of this, in spite of India being Sri Lanka's largest trading partner, the Government was forced to approach China.
China grabbed the opportunity and has developed Hambantota port with the most advanced handling equipment available, so as to cater to the needs of large vessels that have come to rule the high seas now.
While most Indian ports are able to handle vessels carrying 5,000 containers, with the exception of Mundra (which is reported to have handled 14,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit) in 2013, setting a record) and the Gujarat Pipvav port (9,000 TEUs), our southern neighbour's port at Hambantota can easily handle the so-called monster vessels of 15,000 TEUs capacity with ease.
It has been reported in the press that an estimated 100 or more such mega vessels rule the sea, these are able to transfer small lots of containers for onward transmission to ports that cannot berth these mega vessels. It would follow that, in due course, these smaller container vessels will also be forced to leave the shipping lanes and land up in ship-breaking yards.
As far as India is concerned, as a sequel to the development of Hambantota port in Sri Lanka, cargo to USA, UK and Europe are now seeking transhipment facilities at Colombo, Singapore and Jebel Ali (UAE). Unfortunately at the moment, most Indian ports lack deep drafts and cranes with sufficient reach to serve such mega vessels.
In a way, this works to India's disadvantage because when customers nominate their cargo carriers, by identified shipping companies, we may land up handing over the cargo that would employ the advanced facilities available in the ports mentioned above, for the final destination.
At the moment, even Nhava Sheva port, which handles around 45% of India's container movement, does not have sufficiently deep draft. And yet, we are only six years away from the goals set for the Maritime Agenda 2020 by the government. If this target has to be met, it is imperative that in the "Make in India" campaign, special attention is drawn to this inadequacy and efforts are made on a war footing, to develop deep drafts and obtain matching equipment to be able to handle such mega vessels.
In addition to the development facilities at ports, it becomes all the more necessary to draw up mega plans for simultaneous concentration in setting up infrastructure facilities in and around such ports. Extension of rail roads, increased availability of wagons/rakes to move goods and container carriers in and out of these ports to keep pace with increased demands, both for imports and exports. At the same time, these ports will keep developing and we need to keep pace with them in speed and execution.
To make all this possible, there is a need to create well-trained and skilled personnel to handle the latest equipment that would be in use. Also, as some of the ports are considered "small" or "minor", there is a need to develop these ports, so that these can supplement the efforts of mega ports to handle increased cargo, both in and out of the country.
Port development, therefore, is a must to make "make in India" campaign fruitful.
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)
The civil imprisonment of Mr Hingorani was ordered by SEBI in its authority as Recovery Officer, for failing to pay fines due to SEBI
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) ordered the civil imprisonment of Vinod Hingorani in connection with non-payment of fines related to the companies Adam Comsof Ltd. and Kolar Biotech Ltd.
Mr Hingorani had not cleared dues of Rs1.64 crore, pending with SEBI. The fines had been in relation to fraudulent practices in the securities markets. The SEBI Act was amended in February 2014, when powers of detention and imprisonment were added to the Act.
SEBI had issued a notice to appear before the recovery officer on 10 December 2014, which was adjourned to 18 December at Hingorani's request. When Hingorani appeared before the Recovery Officer and was unable to show just cause as to his inability to pay the fines, the Officer detained Hingorani at SEBI Bhavan in Mumbai. Hingorani was asked to come up with a proposal for paying the dues, which he did not to, following which, a warrant was issued and he was ordered to be sent to civil prison.
The order says that Hingorani is to remain in jail at Byculla District Prison, for a maximum of 6 months or till he pays the dues or until an order of release is issued.
As a regulatory body and a quasi-judicial body, SEBI has been given these powers on the lines of the Income Tax Department. This is also sure to stir up a debate about whether a judicial body should confirm or authorise an order of arrest before such bodies can execute such orders on their own.