Should SCI ships need Indian flag after selloff?

2020-12-23 16:35:02 Shipping News

The government is ready with the disinvestment of Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) but is unable to decide if it should insist on an Indian flag even after the selloff. While the preliminary information memorandum is ready, this issue has not been addressed just yet, sources told TOI.

The shipping ministry is keen SCI ships to retain Indian flag post-disinvestment

The shipping ministry is keen that ships belonging to the public sector company, which is among the high-profile entities on the selloff list being pushed by the government, should retain the Indian flag even post-disinvestment. This, it believes, will help use them for emergency operations, as has been the case in the past, although the other government departments engaged in the exercise do not have a fixed view on the issue.

In case the company is acquired by an Indian entity, the issue will not be a major concern. But the shipping ministry’s concerns appear to emanate from the possibility of an overseas company acquiring Shipping Corporation. As a result, one view is to get the foreign entity to set up an Indian company and acquire the government shares through this company.

According to rules available on the website of director general shipping, the status of an Indian ship will be given only if it is owned by an Indian citizen or an entity “established by or under any central or state Act which has its principle place of business in India”. Alternatively, ships owned by a co-operative society, which is registered or deemed to be registered under a law governing co-operative societies, can be given the tag.

Given that a final view could not be taken on the issue, a panel of officers has opted to leave it, while preparing the preliminary information memorandum and will address it ahead of the next phase.

The company’s shares touched a 52-week high of Rs 92.7 on the BSE

On Monday, the company’s shares touched a 52-week high of Rs 92.7 on the BSE, before closing at Rs 82.6 — 4.6% lower than Friday’s close

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