The Directorate General of Shipping has proposed an amendment to the law governing provident funds for Indian seafarers working on foreign-flagged ships.
This proposal seeks to ensure that foreign ship owners pay provident fund contributions, gratuity, and pension to Indian seafarers brought on board their ships.
Currently, the Seamen’s Provident Fund Act, 1966, governs provident funds for Indian seafarers working on Indian-flagged ships.
The proposed amendment aims to introduce gratuity and annuity (pension) schemes for seafarers in addition to the provident fund. The amendment aligns with the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) adopted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 2006.
These amendments could potentially attract more Indian seafarers to work on foreign-flagged ships, thereby increasing the Indian maritime workforce’s contribution to the global shipping industry.
Overall, the proposed amendment to the law relating to provident fund for seafarers is a positive development for Indian seafarers. It underscores the government’s commitment to ensuring the welfare of Indian seafarers and their families. It is also a step towards strengthening India’s position as a major player in the global maritime industry.
This Convention sets out seafarers’ rights at work, including their employment terms, health and safety, living and working conditions, access to medical care, and social security. The MLC has been in force since August 2013.
According to a government official briefed on the plan, these amendments may seem small, but they will have a significant impact on Indian seafarers. It will ensure that seafarers receive adequate benefits and protections while working on foreign-flagged ships. The proposal is also aimed at bringing parity between Indian seafarers working on foreign-flagged ships and those working on Indian-flagged ships.
The proposal may provide Indian seafarers with greater job security and a sense of financial stability. The provision of gratuity and annuity (pension) schemes will provide them with long-term benefits, ensuring their well-being even after retirement.
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