The amendments seek to add 106 additional inland waterways as the national waterways based on the recommendations Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture and comments of State Governments.
The National Waterways Bill, 2015 repeals the five Acts that declare the existing national waterways. These existing five national waterways are now covered under the Bill.
The enactment of this Act (Central legislation) will pave way for the inclusion of 106 additional inlands waterways. Thus the total number of national waterways (NW) numbers will go up to 111 from existing five national waterways.
The changes made in former bill include omission of 10 waterways from Kerala. While 17 waterways have been merged with the existing waterways. 18 new waterways have been added. 5 each from Karnataka and Meghalaya, 3 each from Maharashtra and Kerala, 1 each from Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan).
The declaration of these National Waterways would enable Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) to develop the feasible stretches for Shipping and Navigation.
Union Government is empowered to make laws on shipping and navigation on inland waterways which are classified as national waterways by Parliament by law as per Entry 24 of the Union List of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution.
Inland Waterways Waterways are the cheapest and environment friendly modes of Transportation.
They are most suitable for carrying heavy and bulky goods. Existing five national waterways are (i) NW 1: between Allahabad and Haldia (1620 km) on Ganga River (ii) NW 2: between Sadiya and Dubri (891 km) (iii) NW 3: West Coast Canal (205 km) in Kerala (iv) NW 4: Kakinada–Pondicherry stretch River Godavari and Wazirabad–Vijayawada stretch of River Krishna in Andhra Pradesh (v) NW 5: Talcher–Dhamra (620 km) stretch on Mahanadi River.