Focussing strongly on infrastructure development, the budget has proposed setting up of two ports in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, which would increase the cargo handling capacity in the country.
"Two new major ports will be established at Sagar in West Bengal and in Andhra Pradesh to add 100 million tonne of capacity," finance minister P Chidambaram said, while announcing the budget on Thursday.
In addition, a new outer harbour will be developed in the VOC port (VO Chidambaram Port Trust, formerly Tuticorin Port at Thoothukkudi, Tamil Nadu) through the PPP at an estimated cost Rs. 7,500 crore.
"Once completed, this will add 42 million tonne of capacity," said the finance minister.
At present, there are 12 major ports in India. These are at Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Kolkata (with Haldia), Chennai, Cochin, Paradip, New Mangalore, Marmagao, Ennore, Tuticorin, Kandla and Visakhapatanam.
"The location of the Andhra Pradesh port is yet to be finalized," a shipping ministry official said.
The finance minister has also proposed the exemption of excise duty for ships and vessels.
"A measure of relief to the shipbuilding industry, I propose to exempt ships and vessels from excise duty and consequently, there will be no CVD (counterveiling duty) on imported ships and vessels," Chidambaram said in his speech.
The ministry of shipping has estimated investments of Rs. 2.87 lakh crore in major and non-major ports and Rs. 1.65 lakh crore in the shipping sector by 2020.