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Govt to hive off maritime institute before SCI sale

P. Manoj

NEW DELHI, Sept. 21

THE Union Government has decided to demerge the Maritime Training Institute (MTI) run by the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) before privatising the state-owned line and plans to convert it into a full-fledged maritime university, a senior Shipping Ministry official has said.

The decision to hive off MTI from SCI was taken at a meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) on Disinvestment on September 13.

The modalities of transferring the institute from SCI to the Shipping Ministry are being worked out. This involves the terms of transfer including the price.

The decision to delink MTI from SCI before finalising the strategic sale was taken at the initiative of the Shipping Ministry.

"There is a very good facility for training in the MTI. We anticipate that the private party who acquires SCI will not really be interested in doing training," says Mr M.P. Pinto, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping.

In fact, it is probable to the point of certainty that he won't be interested in training.'' Training is a loss-making field. SCI is actually subsidising the training effort. It does that as its contribution to the maritime industry," Mr Pinto said.

Given the sprawling campus spread over 40 acres of prime land in Powai and the standard of courses conducted by the institute, it can be India's first maritime university, he feels.

The MTI was set up in the late 1980s on land leased by the Maharashtra Government to SCI. The perpetual lease was granted on the condition that the land should be utilised only for educational or institutional activities.

"We are convinced that this (converting MTI into a full-fledged maritime university) is essential for the training effort. China has some seven or eight maritime universities, we do not have even one. So, we would like to have a maritime university and this is an ideal location," he quips.

The MTI currently conducts short-duration courses approved by the Directorate-General (Shipping) for technical personnel working on board ships, enabling them to secure certificates for promotional purposes.

The Government has already set up the Indian Institute of Maritime Studies (IIMS) on June 6, 2002 as a Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. The IIMS will run four institutes - Training Ship Chanakya, the Marine Engineering and Research Institutes located in Mumbai and Kolkata and the LBS College of Advance Maritime Studies and Research, Mumbai.

The Shipping Ministry is also working on a recommendation made by the Expenditure Reforms Commission (ERC) to grant IIMS the status of a deemed university or of an IIT and be made fully autonomous.

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