Following is an excerpt from a report in Business Standard. (Thanks to Abhishek for the pointer.)

The government has envisaged an investment of more than Rs 22,000 crore for setting up nine new major ports in the country over the next five years.

The Ministry of Shipping has asked nine coastal states — West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat — to select sites for setting up a major port each. It is awaiting a response from all nine states.

"We have written to all the nine (maritime) states and have asked them to select site for the major port," a Shipping Ministry official said, adding that construction of each port would cost about Rs 2,500 crore.

The 12 existing major ports are Mumbai, the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Kolkata (with Haldia), Chennai, Visakhapatanam, Kochi, Paradip, New Mangalore, Marmagao, Ennore, Tuticorin and Kandla.

… Any port with two or more berths with facilities and equipment capable of handling 100,000 tonne per month of cargo from ocean-going ships is categorised as a major port.

The Shipping Ministry plans to create port capacity of around 3,200 million tonne to handle the expected traffic of about 2,500 million tonne by 2020.

… About 90 per cent by volume and 70% by value of the country’s international trade is carried through maritime transport.

For some reason I feel there is a catch somewhere.

To start with with private parties willing to spend their own money in setting up ports, why does the central government needs to spend its tax earnings on this. It should focus on elements for which private funding is lacking.

Other arms of the central government are trying to sell-off equity in public sector units to get money for other developmental things. With that background it does not make sense for India to spend money on things (new ports) that the private sector can do.

Perhaps some of the readers can suggest some perspectives where the above makes sense.