The unsatisfactory implementation of the National Maritime Development Programme (NMDP) seems to be in line with the general apathy that has gripped the decision makers in the UPA Government. A Parliamentary committee has now come down heavily on the Ministry of Shipping for what it says is its "miserable failure" to spend budgetary allocations in this critical sector. The Committee on Estimates now wants to know the status of incomplete projects, reports say. Around 275 projects were planned under the NMDP when it was unveiled in 2009; many languish today for one reason or another.
Out of the 1-lakh crore rupee allocation during the 11th Plan (five years ending in 2012), only 13 percent has been spent, the Parliamentary committee says. “The Ministry has been able to spend only 12.88 per cent out of the total projected outlay of Rs 1,00,399 crore provided for the port sector during the entire 11th Plan. The situation is alarming as the Ministry has miserably failed to perform both financially and physically,” the report adds.
Notwithstanding the Ministry of Shipping's ambitious plans announced last year that envisaged reforms and an investment of Rs 3 lakh crore in the port sector by 2020, the Parliamentary committee says, “The committee is inclined to conclude that the Ministry has neither seriously planned their projects nor monitored all the ongoing projects to ensure their timely completion.”
Only three projects of the 276 identified under the NMDP through the public-private partnership (PPP) route have been awarded so far; twenty three- worth Rs 16,744- were to have been fixed last year. Alarmed at the delay, the Prime Minister was reported to have intervened, asking for ' fast-tracking' of the delayed projects. Even so, nothing much seems to have happened since then, going by the Committee's report.