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India: Merchant navy cadets to get financial support

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January 19, 2015

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India: Merchant navy cadets to get financial support

The Union shipping ministry plans to provide financial support to about 4,000 merchant navy cadets who have graduated from India’s maritime training institutes to get the mandatory on-board training to become eligible for employment and enable India grab a larger share of the global seafarers market. India is aiming to increase the supply of seafarers to 9% of the global workforce from the existing 7%.

This needs on-board trained, ready to be employed Indian seafarers, said a ministry spokesman. But a severe lack of training slots on ships has been a stumbling block.

The backlog of cadets waiting for on-board training runs into thousands, making their education incomplete, choking the supply line and putting “almost trained” young Indians in the unemployed list. This has disrupted the lives of several families across the country.

“While we have increased sufficient capacity to train our seafarers in shore-based institutions in the last decade, we have not been able to secure training berths for the young cadets/ratings passing out from the maritime education and training institutes and their training circle hence have remained incomplete due to absence of sea-time training,” the spokesman said.

Remedial steps are vital at this point in the light of the social issues that this has brought about on the one side and the ongoing global economic conditions and political uncertainties on the other, he added.

The ministry plans to give training assistance of Rs.3 lakh to each cadet to fund the on-board training cost of Rs.10 lakh, the spokesman said. For scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward communities, other ministries such as the ministry of social justice and empowerment, ministry of tribal affairs, ministry of minority affairs and ministry of skill development will provide the rest of the training costs as a soft loan.

For general candidates, the ministry is looking for a tie-up with state-run Syndicate Bank to fund the balance part of the training costs at slightly lower- than market rates, the spokesman said. The grant will be given to merchant navy cadets/trainees who have passed out of maritime training institutions in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

“The Rs.3 lakh per cadet grant will be given to the ship owners who train cadets and will be disbursed at the rate of Rs.1 lakh for each semester backed by a tripartite agreement between the directorate general of shipping and MASSA and FOSMA,” the spokesman said.

The Maritime Association of Ship owners, Ship managers and Agents (MASSA) and Foreign Owners Representatives and Ship Managers Association (FOSMA) are industry bodies.

Foreign ship owners are sceptical about the efficacy of the ministry’s plan. “Indian cadets who are currently getting trained on board foreign ships don’t pay a single penny during the training period. On the contrary, they get a stipend of $350 a month and all other expenses are taken care of by the ship owner,” said a Mumbai-based representative of a foreign fleet owner, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Compare this with those who will pay for training. Even if it is a grant or a loan, at the end of the day, they have to repay that money.”

Source: Live Mint

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