The Union Cabinet recently gave the nod to the Inland Vessels Bill, 2021, which will replace the Inland Vessels Act, 1917.
- The Bill will regulate safety, security and registration of inland vessels.
Key Features of the Bill:
- A key feature of the Bill is a unified law for the entire country, instead of separate rules framed by the States.
- The certificate of registration granted under the proposed law will be deemed to be valid in all States and Union Territories, and there will be no need to seek separate permissions from the States.
- The Bill provides for a central database for recording the details of the vessel, vessel registration, the crew on an electronic portal.
- Non-mechanically propelled vessels will also require to be enrolled at district, taluk or panchayat, or village level.
- It enlarges the definition of ‘inland waters’, by including tidal water limit and national waterways declared by the Central Government.
- It also deals with pollution control measures of Inland Vessels.
- This Bill directs the Central Government to designate a list of chemicals, substances, etc. as pollutants.
- As of now, a total of 4,000 km of inland waterways have been operationalized.
Inland Water Transport (IWT) in India:
- India has about 14,500 km of navigable waterways which comprises of rivers, canals, backwaters, creeks, etc.
- It is a fuel-efficient and environment-friendly mode of transportation.
- Under National Waterways Act 2016, 111 waterways have been declared as National Waterways.
- The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is implementing the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) at an estimated cost of ₹5369.18 crores for capacity augmentation of navigation on the Haldia-Varanasi stretch of Ganga (part of NW-1) with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank.
About Inland Waterways Authority (IWT) of India:
- It came into existence on 27th October 1986 for the development and regulation of inland waterways for shipping and navigation.
- It primarily undertakes projects for the development and maintenance of IWT (Inland Water Transport) infrastructure on national waterways through grants received from the Ministry of Shipping.
- It is headquartered in Noida (Uttar Pradesh).