NEW DELHI: Indian private shipbuilders have called for a level playing field in the country, failing which they risk going under jeopardizing the livelihood of more than 11.5 lakh families, the Shipyards Association of India (SAI) said.
Briefing reporters here on Monday following a meeting with Road Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari, SAI said it had urged the Minister to create an atmosphere of inclusive growth between public and private sector companies operating in the field. “The Indian private shipbuilding industry appealed for a speedy resolution of critical areas of concern and sought a level playing field between the public sector undertakings (PSUs) and private shipyards,” SAI President V. Kumar told reporters. “The Indian government is directing and awarding most of its orders today, worth around Rs 2 lakh crore, to PSU shipyards. Cases in point of the impact of this are of two big private sector shipyards shutting down, and other major shipyards are being financially stressed.”
SAI said the Minister gave a patient hearing to their appeal for a review of policies and for removing bottlenecks in the shipbuilding industry, which is the only one not given any protection in the way of domestic tariff barriers via customs duties. The private shipbuilders pointed out that between 2002 and 2007, the government had declared a subsidy scheme for all shipbuilding contracts made during the period.
In addition, there are outstanding dues that the government needs to pay to shipyards. “Put together, the total subsidy claims pending with the government under the 2002-2007 subsidy schemes are more than Rs 900 crore,” he said, adding that at the meeting SAI urged the Minister to expedite the release of long overdue subsidy amounts. He said the stressed shipyards are facing a situation where assets of Rs 25,000-30,000 crore are under insolvency proceedings under the new Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). (IANS)