NEW DELHI :
Employment of Indian seafarers on Indian and foreign ships witnessed a growth of 35 %in 2018 bringing a good news amid the job crisis being witnessed in the country.
Last year, people recruited in Merchant Navy from India increased from 1,54,349 in 2017 to 2,08,799 showing how the Indian skills are in demand globally. Various designations where Indians are joining the industry include nautical officers, nautical ratings and engineers.
A senior shipping ministry official on condition of anonymity attributed this growth to several reforms and the revised training curriculum introduced by India in 2016. He said, “To ensure increase in the supply of Indian marine personnel, a 15-year-old ban on setting up of new training institutes and increasing the capacity of the existing training institutes was lifted with certain conditions. We also prepared an e-learning module and provided it free of cost to all Indian seafarers to allow them to upgrade their knowledge and skills before appearing for the examination." He added that shipping minister Nitin Gadkari took several policy decisions to ensure that all road blocks are removed.
According to statistics available with Ministry of Shipping, the number of seafarers employed on Indian flag vessels increased from 22,103 in 2017 to 27,364 in 2018, while the employment figures on foreign ships went up from 60,194 to 72,327 during the same period. The number of Indian in Merchant Navy had earlier gone up from 1,03,835 in 2013 to 1,26,945 in 2015.
Another government official who also didn’t want to be identified said, “India has created a large capacity in imparting class room training for Merchant Navy but there was a major constraint in providing on-board ship training for the students enrolled for class room training. The shipping ministry made it mandatory for these institutes to arrange for on-board ship training also and this led to the big leap." He added that the figures show it is a golden opportunity for Indian youth and they should consider it as a promising career opportunity.
In 2017, the shipping ministry introduced a new liberalized Continuous Discharge Certificate (CDC) allowing class Xth pass Indian citizen who had completed a 14-day basic maritime course to obtain Indian CDC. Earlier, they were required to complete at least 6 months training for obtaining CDC.
Moreover, a policy shift was also made by holding the training institutes responsible for on-board ship training of the students also and not only for the class room training. To release more on-board ship training slots, it was decided to allow on-board training of officers and ratings on tugs and offshore vessels also.