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Ports are gateways to India's prosperity: PM

Posted on Aug 16 2014 | IANS

Raigad (Maharashtra), Aug 16 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an ambitious 'Sagarmala' project for the maritime states which would become "gateways to India's prosperity", here Saturday.

He said that the 'Sagarmala' would envisage not merely ports development, but port-led development including ports, special economic zones, rail, road, air and waterway connectivity with the hinterland, with linkages of cold storage and warehousing facilities.

"The development of India's ports is directly linked to creation of job opportunities, boosting industrial development, increasing exports, and resulting in the overall improvement in the economy," Modi said.

He was speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremonies of the Rs.6,000-crore port-based multi-product SEZ and its major component, the Port Connectivity Highway Project, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), here Saturday.

Pointing out that two-thirds of all global trade and 50 percent of container trade happens through the Indian Ocean, the prime minister emphasized the importance of ports which had potential to become "Gateways to India's prosperity".

SEZ's can provide huge employment to local youths, thus preventing migration, and coupled with such activities, the development of manufacturing, service and industrial sectors, and infrastructure can improve the life of the countrymen, he urged.

He expressed concern at the large number of stalled SEZs around the country and said that a high-level team will review the situation and resolve them at the earliest.

Stressing the need to promote exports, Modi said that the government had recently convened meeting with states to identify bottlenecks in exports and they would be given permission to form their own export promotion councils.

"Unless we manufacturers in export promotion, and unless the states and centre work together, we cannot achieve new heights in exports. Let the states identify their core strengths for export and let there be competition among states for exports," Modi urged.

Discussing ways and means to create an easy environment for maritime businesses and youth, Modi pointed out that the central government recently scrapped the requirement of annual renewal for shipping licenses and has now made for lifetime the licence validity.

For this, he lauded the efforts of Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari, who was also present at the event.

Citing the example of South Korea, he said that shipping is a big global opportunity and India also try to take advantage of it.

He said South Korea makes nearly 40 percent of all the world's ships and said India should emulate its example as it can help us in development and generating large employment opportunities, for which the government would encourage foreign investments.

Present at the function - in which Modi gave away certificates to project affected persons of JNPT - were Maharashtra Governor K. Sankaranarayanan, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and other dignitaries.

The JNPT SEZ industrial infrastructure is coming up over 277 hectares of land near the port as a self-sustainable integrated development project with a potential to generate around 150,000 jobs.

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