The Marine Products Export Development Authority Act, 1972

The Marine Products Export Development Authority Act, 1972 was enacted by the legislature on 20th April, 1972. The act enables the union government to take in its domination the marine products industry. Under the Act the Marine Products Export Development Authority is constituted. The role envisaged to this authority is to keep a check on fisheries on all kinds, methods to increase export, marketing of marine products and processing of marine products. Under section 2 sub clause (h) the term marine products is defined and it includes fish varieties of all types, aquatic animals and plants.

Under the Act sections 4 to section 10 deals entirely with Marine Products Export Development Authority. The authority is a body corporate and can be stated to be company of Government of India. Marine Products Export Development Authority is headed by a Chairman appointed by the Central Government along with a Director an ex officio, three members appointed by Lok Sabha and one another member appointed by Council of states, there shall be five other members representing ministries of agriculture, finance, trade, shipping etc and twenty other members incase whose appointment The Central Government may deem fit. Any act or proceeding done by the authority shall be perfectly valid under section 5 of the Act. Section 9 of the act deals with duties rendered by the Authority which includes Projection of Indian marine products in overseas markets by participation in overseas fairs and organising seafood fairs in India; collection and publication of trade information; carrying out developmental measures; encourage deep sea fishing are a few amongst other activities.

Chapter 3 of the Act deals with registration, under section 11 of the chapter any person who owns either a fishing ves            sel, operates a processing plant or a cold storage within one month of his becoming an owner shall notify it to the authority and get the same registered. The registration once made shall continue indefinitely unless cancelled. The Authority under the Act shall have power of search and seizure. The act empowers formation of a fund known as the Marine Products Export Development Fund. The money accumulated by the Authority in term of taxes, fees, loans is directed into the fund. The fund shall be used to realise salaries of the employees and other expenses made by the authority. The authority under section 19 will have to maintain proper accounts and prepare an annual statement which shall also include profit and loss incurred by the authority. The accounts so maintained are scrutinised by Comptroller and Auditor General or such other person appointed by Comptroller and Auditor General. The Central government can exercise control on export and import of marine products. Incase any person required to give returns under the act provides for fraudulent returns shall be penalised under section 23 of the Act with imprisonment and fine.  A court not below than Magistrates court shall have jurisdiction incase of matters arising under the Act.

Under the act various rules and regulations have been made from time to time. The Marine Products Export Development Authority Rules, 1972 and Marine Export Development Authority Regulations, 2001 have been enacted. Under the Marine Products Export Development Authority Rules, 1972 the constitution of Marine Products Export Development Authority has been altered. The twenty members included in the authority shall now represent various states, union territories, persons owning fishing vessels and persons carrying out business of marine products. Such members are appointed for a fixed period of 3 years. The new rules also hold appointment of a vice chairman for a period of one year. Section 11 of the Act provides for appointment of various committees. Section 22 to section 27 deals with powers of the Marine Export Development Authority, the authority can make rules, enter into contracts and borrow funds. Under the Rules the Marine Products Export Development Authority shall have to prepare a budget at the beginning of every financial years and the registration of a fishing vessel, processing plant and a cold storage shall be made in a prescribed manner. Marine Export Development Authority Regulations, 2001 generally deals with procedure of meetings as called upon by the Chairman when ever deemed necessary by him. The regulation also deals with delegation of powers to sub authorities by the chairman.

Thus the Act was legislated inorder to constitute Marine Export Development Authority. The authority has been given various powers and bestowed with duties in relation to marine products industry. The authority precisely has to work in furtherance of promotion and promulgation of marine products not only in India but in other countries also.

by Vibhuti Nakta