Ministry of Shipping Current Affairs - 2019

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India launches world’s first facial biometric data-based ID for seafarers

Union Ministry of Shipping has launched Biometric Seafarer Identity Document (BSID) to ne issued for Indian seafarers. With this, India became world’s first country to launch facial biometric data-based identity document (ID) for seafarers.

About BSID

  • Implementing agencies: This project has been taken up by Union Ministry of Shipping in collaboration with Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), Mumbai.
  • Rules: It is being implemented in pursuance of Government notified the Merchant Shipping (Seafarers Bio-metric Identification Document) Rules in 2016.
  • Features: Issuance of SID involves collection of biometric and demographic details of seafarers, their verification and then issuance of the card to them.
  • It has dimensions of smart ID card. It has modern security features like embedded biometric chip, optical security features such as micro prints/micro texts and Unique Guilloche pattern. Its security is ensured at various levels and through different methods. At the time of its data capturing, live face is cross matched through passport photo using face matching software. Software has been developed for capturing facial biometrics and its authentication through public key infrastructure. Record of each SID issued will be maintained in national database and its related information will be internationally accessible.
  • Significance: It is in confirmation of Convention No. 185 of International Labour Organisation (ILO) on BSID. India ratified this convention in October 2015. It will give foolproof identification to Indian seafarers which will facilitate their movement, provide ease of getting jobs and help in identifying them from any location in the world.

CICMT: MoA signed between Ministry of Shipping and IIT Kharagpur

A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed between the Union Ministry of Shipping and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur for setting up Centre for Inland and Coastal Maritime Technology (CICMT). The MoA will focus on indigenisation of ship designing, building and testing.

About Centre for Inland and Coastal Maritime Technology

It is a state-of-the-art centre which will be set up under the flagship Sagarmala Programme, a government initiative to enhance the performance of India’s logistics sector.

Project Cost: It will be Rs.69.20 crore, is being funded under Sagarmala programme. The funding for project is for 5 years after which revenues generated from end users will make it sustainable.

CICMT Project (IIT Kharagpur): It will provide technological support, testing, research and experimentation facility to agencies involved in inland water transport, shipbuilding, ports etc.

Function: CICMT will focus on ship design for coastal as well as inland waterways, shipbuilding technology & structural design, cryogenic cargo handling, transport systems & logistics, renewable energy harvesting from coastal and inland waters and artificial intelligence (AI) and automation for maritime operations.

Reduced Dependence: It will be 1st of its kind facility and will be a hub for latest technology tools for maritime sector and will reduce India’s dependence on foreign institutions. It will also drastically reduce cost of research and will result in cost and time savings for work in port and maritime sector.

Strategic Interest: CICMT is of strategic long-term interest for India’s port and maritime sector as it will provide tremendous impetus to Inland water transportation and coastal shipping.

Need:  At present there is no experimentation and testing facility available in India for inland and coastal vessels thus for when required shipbuilders have to approach many European countries where these facilities are available. Thus, CICMT is being setup to address this long felt need and to provide impetus to development of inland waterways and country’s coastal shipping.

Significance: Since indigenous technology is the need of the hour for maritime sector, thus MoA will further the dream of governments’ Make in India initiative and reduce the recurring cost incurred in import of technology.