Union Minister of Shipping GK Vasan today said that the ministry intends to award projects for creating 244 million tonnes of capacity during 2012-13, spread across 42 projects at an estimated cost of Rs 14,500 crore.
“The target also include, obtaining approval of establishing two new major ports — one in Andhra Pradesh and another in West Bengal,” said Vasan while inaugurating the National Conclave on Shipping organised by the Federation of Indian Export Organisations in Chennai.
The target has been set after a review of the infrastructure sector by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
In the Union budget, the tax-free bond scheme has been extended for one more year to enable the ports to raise funds to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore for various projects, the minister said.
“The rate of withholding tax on interest payments on external commercial borrowings has also been reduced from 20 percent to five percent for a period of three years for ports and shipyards,” he said.
“After the introduction of the tonnage tax regime, Indian shipping which was stagnating around 6 million gross tonnage for a decade, witnessed a steady growth to reach 11 million gross tonnage by the end of 2011,” Vasan said.
The minister informed that the Ministry of Shipping has also taken up with the Ministry of Finance the need for exemption of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) on the book profit on sale of qualifying ships and its inclusion within tonnage tax regime.