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Ministry of Shipping has undertaken a diverse set of initiatives as part of its drive to boost profitability

Newdelhi:31/7/18;The Ministry of Shipping has undertaken a diverse set of initiatives as part of its drive to boost profitability across major Indian ports. One major initiative is to improve the returns earned on treasury investments by the ports for pension, provident and surplus funds. Across all major ports, these funds add up to around Rs 33,000 crore, yielding interest of around Rs 2,700 crore. Looking for ways to push this amount further, the Ministry has realized an opportunity to improve returns by Rs 150 crore or more through a strategic shift in its guidelines for provident and surplus funds.

As per the most recent guidelines, major ports have been investing their provident and surplus funds in the fixed deposits of nationalized banks, earning returns in the range of 5.5 to 8 percent. However, many PSUs have enjoyed significantly better returns. For instance, ONGC earned 8.4 percent returns through Oil Corporation of India and Government of India special bonds; RECL earned 10 to 11 percent through Tier I bonds of the UP Power Corporation Limited and SBI bonds. Realizing the potential to earn higher returns, the Ministry of Shipping has evaluated its recommended investment pattern in comparison to the frameworks followed by other PSUs and government bodies.

After as a detailed study of investment options available and their achieved performances, the Ministry of Shipping has issued fresh guidelines to all the major ports on the investment of provident funds based on EPFO (Employees Provident Fund Organization) guidelines from the Ministry of Labour and Employment in 2015, and on the investment of surplus funds based on guidelines from the Department of Public Enterprises (Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises) in 2017. These new guidelines are expected to increase the returns of provident and surplus funds by 1 to 1.5 percent across ports, adding around Rs 150 crore annually to the current earning figures.

With the new guidelines, many ports, including Kandla, Goa, JNPT, New Mangalore and Visakhapatnam are all set to switch the investment pattern with higher rate of return. The financial benefit estimated would show up in the books of accounts of major ports from 2018–19. Treasury investments at India’s 12 major ports─ Kandla, Mumbai Port Trust, JNPT, Goa, New Mangalore, Cochin, Tuticorin, Chennai, Ennore, Vishakhapatnam, Paradip, and Kolkata/Haldia─ are governed by Section 88 of the Major Ports Trust Act, 1963. The Act mandates that investments pertaining to pension, provident and surplus funds adhere to the guidelines issued from time to time by the Central Government, i.e., the Ministry of Shipping or Ministry of Finance.

About Ashok Palit

Ashok Palit has completed his graduation from Upendranath College Soro, Balasore and post graduation from Utkal University in Odia Language and literture.. He has also carved out a niche for himself as a scribe of eminence after joining the profession in 1988. He is also an independent media production professional. He brings loads of experience to Advanced Media, Ashok Palit as a cineaste has been active in film criticism for over three decades. As a film society activist, he soared to eminence for his profound commitment to the art film appreciation and aesthetics of cinema. His mode of discourse is often erudite but always lucid and comprehensible marked by a perfect acumen so rare in the field. A film aesthete with an immense fond of critical sensibilities, he wrote about growth and development of odia cinema in New Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Asian Age and Screen. He has been working as an Editor for Cine Samaya from 2002-2004.. He had made solid contribution on cinema in many odia Dailies and weekly such as Samaj, Prajatantra, Dharatri, Samaya, Satabadi, and weekly Samaya.

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