Speaking on the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019, Union Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandavia said the Bill has been moved in view of ship recycling activities in India and keeping in view standards for environmental protection and workers' safety.
"The major purpose of the Bill is environment-centric and for the safety of the labour," he said.
Noting that India is a leader in the global ship recycling industry with a share of over 30 per cent, the Minister said the ship recycling industry is a labour intensive sector, but is susceptible to concerns relating to environmental safety as the existing regulatory framework, the Ship Breaking Code (Revised), 2013, does not provide penalties for contravention of the provisions or deal with the restrictions on the use of hazardous materials on ships.
He said that the Bill aims to grow such industries and clarified that these are not new industries but already existing ones. "The ship recycling industries generate job opportunities to over 1 to 1.5 lakh people," he said.
The Minister said India has ratified the Hong Kong International Convention for the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships and that all Indian shipyards are already following the norms set by the convention.
Responding to the queries of 24 lawmakers who participated in the discussion on the Bill, the Minister said whatever waste comes out during recycling is used.
The Bill, which was introduced in the House on November 25, proposes to designate an authority to be called the National Authority to administer, supervise and monitor all activities relating to ship recycling and to designate an authority to be called the Competent Authority to perform the prescribed duties within the geographical areas of expertise.
It provides that no ship shall install or use any prohibited hazardous material notified by the Central government and issue a certificate on inventory of hazardous materials and Ready for Recycling certificate which is an essential document for ships designated to be recycled.
The Bill seeks to impose an obligation on the Ship Recycler to take measures for the protection of the environment during the process of ship recycling and providing for appeal against the orders of the Competent Authority to the National Authority and from the National Authority to the Central government.
Congress leader in the House Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury suggested avoiding the use of child labour in ship-breaking industries.