Sagar mala programme of India: National Perspective Plan

Sagar mala programme: Lying in the middle of Indian Ocean, India is endowed with rich maritime advantages such as 7500 km coastline covering 13 states and union territories which is

Raju Choudhary

Sagar mala programme

Sagar mala programme: Lying in the middle of Indian Ocean, India is endowed with rich maritime advantages such as 7500 km coastline covering 13 states and union territories which is at a strategic location of many international trade routes such as Malacca strait etc. It is reported that maritime logistics has been a very important component of Indian economy accounting for 90% of Export & Import trade by volume & 72% by value in the financial year 2015-16. check more details for SagarMala Program of India from below…

Despite having one of such long coastlines, India is still lagging behind in modern and efficient port infrastructure which is very essential for cost effective and timely EXIM trade. Distance between production houses and ports in India is between 700-1000 KMs compared to 150-300 in China. With a view to leverage the Indian ports and make them an active part of the economic growth, NDA government of Atal bihari Vajpayee proposed ‘Sagar mala’ Programme which will develop the port infrastructure, connects them with main stream economy to derive the best out of them. And the same is taken a step forward by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make this a reality.

Where is Indian port infrastructure compared to US & China?

Below figures taken from the executive summary of Sagar mala national perspective plan would give us a glimpse of where does India stand in port infrastructure when a contrast is drawn with China and US.

Indicator IndiaChinaUS
Port capacity stock (as a % of GDP)1310
Number of ports in global top 20092
Number of shipyards (Which can make ships of more than 120 mts long)77045
Container traffic  (Mn 20 foot equivalent unit)1118544
Average annual growth in container traffic (over 2008-12)0.5100.4
Contribution of waterways in domestic transportation (as a %)Below 1246
Average turnaround time (in days)4.511.2

Source: Lloyd’s list, World bank,OECD, Port technology, Clarksons

It is clear that India is a way behind china and US when it comes the leverage attained through ports. In fact, China is way ahead than US. This presents the need for modernization and integration of Indian ports as soon as possible to produce better economic performance.

Sagarmala Programme is conceived by the government to address the infrastructural challenges and grab the port led developmental opportunities as china does, comprehensively and holistically. This initiative will improve the potential of India’s coastline and river network, thus contributes to accelerate the economic development.

Vision of the Sagarmala Initiative:

Following image depicts the clear vision of Sagarmala Programme

Vision of the Sagarmala Initiative

The main focus in sagarmala is on below 4 aspects:

  • Port modernization
  • Port connectivity
  • Port led Industrialization
  • Coastal community development

Key information:

As per the information made available by ministry of shipping, government of India, Under Sagarmala Programme,  415 projects, at an estimated investment of approximately  Rs.8 Lac Crore, have been identified across port modernization & new port development, port connectivity enhancement, port-linked industrialization and coastal community development for phase wise implementation over the period 2015 to 2035. As per the approved implementation plan of Sagarmala Programme, these projects will be taken up by the relevant Central Ministries/Agencies and State Governments preferably through private/Public private partnership mode. The details are as below.

ThemeNo of projectsCost (Rs crores)
Port Modernisation189142828
Connectivity Enhancement170230576
Port-Linked Industrialisation33420881
Coastal Community Development234216
  • Six new port locations have been identified, namely – Vadhavan, Enayam, Sagar Island, Paradip Outer Harbour, Sirkazhi and Belekeri. These will be developed as megaports under Sagarmala programme.
  • As per the written answer given by ministry as on 9th March 2017 to the Lok sabha, the current status of these is as follows
LocationStateStatus (as on 9th March 2017)
Sagar IslandWest BengalApproval obtained for setting up Major Port at Sagar Island. DPR prepared. Viability being re-examined in view of announcement of new port at Tajpur by State Govt. of West Bengal.
Paradip Outer HarbourOdishaDPR under preparation.
SirkhaziTamil NaduTechno Economic Feasibility Report(TEFR) prepared.
EnayamTamil NaduIn principle approval obtained for setting up Major Port at Enayam. DPR under preparation.
BelikeriKarnatakaTechno Economic Feasibility Report (TEFR) prepared.
VadhavanMaharashtraDPR under preparation
  • Coastal economic zones (CEZ) will be developed under Sagarmala programme to bring the new industrial townships and investments to these zones which will mainly be export oriented.

This programme will be implemented over 20 years or less in a phased manner. And if implemented as planned, this would certainly boost the Indian economy.



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