India: Maritime body MUI demands ‘seafarers support fund’
Union Budget 2021-22 Expectations for seafarers support fund: Maritime body MUI on Friday demanded announcement of a support fund for seafarers in the forthcoming Budget.
Maritime Union of India (MUI) is the country’s oldest union of merchant navy officers.
It has urged the government to allocate substantial corpus towards creation of a ‘seafarers support fund’ in the Union Budget scheduled to be presented in Parliament on February 1, MUI said in a statement.
“Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways of India should be assigned the responsibility of the proposed ‘seafarers support fund’ to increase the global share of Indian seafarers through maritime skilling initiatives in India.
“Also, the corpus of this fund should be utilised by the Ministry to organize road shows for promoting Indian seafarers amongst shipowners residing in important maritime locations across the globe,” MUI General Secretary Amar Singh Thakur said.
Ports, shipping companies, ship management companies and logistics enterprises in India should be asked by the government to donate their CSR (corporate social responsibility) funds to ‘seafarers support fund’ every year for availing tax exemptions, added Thakur.
MUI has also requested the government to amend Seamen’s Provident Fund Act 1966 in the forthcoming Budget session of Parliament.
In 2019, MUI had requested the Shipping Ministry for extending the benefits of provident fund, gratuity and pension to all ranks of merchant navy seafarers working on both Indian and foreign flag ships.
“The creation of a dedicated ‘seafarers support fund’ and the amendment of Seamen’s Provident Fund Act 1966 as demanded by MUI…will indeed be a historic development in the Indian maritime sector which needs a stimulus in the post pandemic phase,” said Sanjay Srivastava, managing director of Suntech Ship Management Company which employs a substantial number of MUI members.
MUI represents Indian merchant navy officers and is affiliated to International Transport Workers’ Federation (London) which is an association of 700 Unions representing over 4.5 million transport workers from the globe.