The birth of Indian Maritime University is a long cherished dream of the maritime community of India.
The Indian Maritime University, established through an Act of Parliament (Act 22) in November 2008 as a Central University, is poised to play a key role in the development of trained human resource for the maritime sector.
The following are the objectives of the University:
(i) to facilitate and promote maritime studies, training, research and extension work with focus on emerging areas of studies like oceanography, maritime history, maritime laws, maritime security, search and rescue, transportation of dangerous cargo, environmental studies and other related fields, and also to achieve excellence in these and connected fields and other matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
(ii) to promote advanced knowledge by providing institutional and research facilities in such branches of learning as it may deem fit and to make provisions for integrated courses in Science and other key and frontier areas of Technology and allied disciplines in the educational programmes of the University;
(iii) to take appropriate measures for promoting innovations in teaching-learning process, inter- disciplinary studies and research; and to pay special attention to the promotion of educational and economic interests and welfare of the people of India;
(iv) to promote freedom, secularism, equality and social justice as enshrined in the Constitution of India and to act as catalyst in socio-economic transformation by promoting basic attitudes and values of essence to national development; and
(v) to extend the benefits of knowledge and skills for development of individuals and society by associating the University closely with local, regional and national issues of development.
The following are the authorities of the University and are in place for achieving its objectives:
(1) the Court;
(2) the Executive Council;
(3) the Academic Council;
(4) the Planning Board;
(5) the Board of Affiliation and Recognition;
(6) the Boards of Schools;
"Indian Shipping had to perish so that British Shipping might flourish."- Mahatma Gandhi
India is traditionally a maritime nation and has a rich maritime heritage. History documents trade links of India had with other nations of the world from the ages of Harappan civilization. India's maritime history precedes the birth of western civilisation. The world's first tidal dock is believed to have been built at Lothal around 2300 BC during Harappan Civilisation, near the present day Mangrol harbour on the Gujarat coast. The Rig Veda, written around 2000 BC, credits Varuna with knowledge of the ocean routes commonly used by ships and describes naval expeditions using hundred-oared ships to subdue other kingdoms. The maritime tradition of India is as old as our civilization and as vast as the Indian Ocean.
India has had a long maritime tradition and is the 20th largest maritime country in the world. The single largest contributing factor to this glorious tradition is the presence of a strong, dedicated, efficient and reliable reservoir of officers and ratings of the Merchant Navy in India. The ever- increasing demand of Indian seafarers worldwide is a testament of the quality of education and training received in India. However, of late, India has been facing a stiff challenge to her position in this regard from countries like Philippines, China and Bangladesh. Hence there is a need to further upgrade our training capacity and capabilities so that India stays ahead of the other nations in this sector. There is also a need to augment the share of India in the world maritime manpower fleet from the present level of around 6% to at least 20%. Further, the 29% share of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries is dwindling rapidly due to lack of interest of their youth in this career and this presents an opportunity that we should exploit to our advantage.
For further strengthening the institutional framework for imparting maritime training in India the Government decided to establish a Society namely Indian Institute of Maritime Studies (IIMS) on 6th June, 2002 placing four Government-run- maritime institutions within the domain of this Society. The Government also set up the National Institute of Port Management now renamed as National Maritime Academy, Chennai and Indian Institute of Port Management, Kolkata as registered Societies for capacity building of personnel of port and shipping industry.
In order to encourage private sector participation in maritime training, the Government of India announced liberalized guidelines in 1997 and as a result around 125 training institutes came up in the government and private sector, which impart both Pre Sea and Post Sea training. The Directorate General of Shipping, Mumbai, accorded recognition to the private institutes. The Committee on Maritime Education and Training set up by the Government in 1991, had recommended the establishment of an autonomous body under an Act of Parliament, to be designated as the Indian Maritime University (IMU) to manage, control, supervise, direct and monitor the maritime training institutions, currently running under Government control. An Expert Committee was constituted by the Ministry, which inter-alia included representatives of the University Grants Commission, to look into the feasibility of the formation of an Indian Maritime University by an Act of Parliament under the aegis of the Ministry, which also strongly recommended the formation of such a University. The Expenditure Reforms Commission in its 9th Report had also recommended that the IIMS should be given the status of a Deemed University or of an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and should become totally autonomous. Formation of the IMU will facilitate and promote maritime studies, research and extension work with focus on emerging areas of studies including marine science & technology, marine environment, socio-economic, legal and other related fields, and also to achieve excellence in these and connected fields. It will promote advanced knowledge by providing institutional and research facilities in such branches of learning as it may deem fit, make provisions for integrated courses in science and other key areas of marine technology and allied disciplines. As we have a sizeable number of private institutions imparting maritime education and training, the University will standardize the quality of such education and training through affiliation and academic supervision.
The Government had introduced the Indian Maritime University Bill, 2007 on 13th March, 2007 in Lok Sabha. The Bill was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture on 19th March 2007 for examination and report. The Committee examined the Bill and presented its 132nd Report on IMU Bill, 2007 on 17th April 2008. The Government considered the Report of the Hon'ble Committee and has accepted 24 of their recommendations. One of the recommendations of the Committee is that there must be one Maritime University each in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Vishakhapatnam and Kochi. The Government was of the view that, to begin with, establishment of several Universities at the same time would create difficulties. It would require far greater skilled human and financial resources than are available and would carry the danger of dilution of inputs. It would also deny the investment of learning and experience gained from setting up the first University into the subsequent ones.
Journey towards establishing Indian Maritime University
The impact of technological developments is very much visible in the maritime industry in the recent years. Foreign trade contributes about 20 per cent of India's gross domestic product (GDP) but as a share of world trade, it currently hovers at just under one per cent. The government plans to double this figure in the next five years. Considering that 95 per cent of this trade is seaborne, one can imagine the degree of dependence on the seas that the future will bring. Thus, the shipping industry is effectively the facilitator for this global economy and shipping will continue to have an impact on the lives of more and more people. Ships designed to carry liquid crude or bulk material such as ores and minerals have also been growing in their size. Ports which provide the interface between the sea and the land, are in a race with shipping to build their facilities ahead to receive the new ships when they arrive. To meet the growing challenges there is an imperative need to have qualified and trained manpower, the requirement of which has been more keenly felt now than ever before. In October 1991, the Government of India appointed a Committee on Maritime Education and Training COMET; under the Chairmanship of Dr.C.P.Srivatsava-Ex-Secretary General of IMO to study the status of marine training institutions and give recommendations. The Committee made the recommendation for formation of Indian Maritime University. Efforts were taken by the Department of Shipping, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to make the recommendations a reality.
After an arduous effort, an Act was passed in the Parliament on 12th November 2008, to establish Indian Maritime University (IMU) with its headquarters at Chennai and regional campuses at Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkatta and Visakhapatnam. The University was to be a teaching and affiliating University. The University will play a vital role in developing and offering wide range of education courses leading to the award of Degree, Post Graduate Degree and Ph.D in various disciplines of the maritime industry besides the present. Training courses to be offered to the port and merchant navy personnel and infuse quality in standards in the curriculum and syllabus of the existing courses. It will address the present shortage of trained faculty in various disciplines and develop courses exclusively towards this. Further, the courses offered would be of both in campus and also through distance learning. The University will give adequate focus on applied research which is virtually non-existent at present in the maritime sector in the country. The University would enter into possible collaborations with leading maritime universities/institutions in the world and also with premier National Academic and Research Institutions such as IlTs, IlMs etc.
Hence, the vision of the IMU is, to provide quality education and training, to undertake research of international standard, to become an institution of excellence providing advice, support to the Government and to provide guidance, support and supervision to the various training institution and to act as an umbrella to all maritime institutions in the country. The programmes offered will groom the youngsters as well as the practicing maritime personnel to excel in their area of duties in all disciplines of maritime sector viz navigational, marine engineering, port management, maritime commerce, maritime law, marine science, ship handling, inland water transportation etc. Globalization of education and the international nature of the maritime industry will drive the University to address the issue of effective quality assurance beyond complying with the needs of the industry stakeholders and the requirements of the nation. The significant gains in quality over a period of time would make the University to ascend to high positions among the leading maritime universities of the world.
Role of the University
IMU is in the category of Professional University intended for fulfilling the requirements of the Maritime Sector. Ability to establish and develop a critical mass of activities in the maritime sector is the primary advantage of the IMU system. All activities need not be in a single location but should be distributed across different locations in the country, which have the comparative advantages to facilitate the best possible education and training in a given area of specialization. The structure and content of the programmes leading to different levels of qualification of the personnel engaged in the maritime sector can be uniquely addressed by the IMU unconstrained by the limitations of the general purpose universities. The up-gradation of courses, revision of syllabi, introduction of new courses, adoption of new methods of technology - enabled learning, including regular class room instruction, virtual classes, distance learning etc, will be facilitated by the University system. The regulations governing the programmes for various qualifications can be customized to meet the particular needs of the industry and the international organizations. Similarly the University can develop its own transparent admission policy for its programmes to cater to the profiles of the beneficiaries serving the maritime industry.
The Governance System
The Governance system of the IMU will be similar to the Central Universities and the Institutions of National Importance fulfilling the requirements of the University Grants Commission for recognition as a University for the award of the degrees. It will have the autonomy and flexibility to carry out its mandates with the approval and the consent of the designated bodies or persons of the University and the Central Government. The Board of Management of the IMU will be the apex body for evolving policies and decisions on the functioning of the University. In evolving directions for its programmes and functions, the University will have the benefit of experiences available in a substantial number of institutions around the world engaged in education and training relating to the maritime sector.