Recently, the Union Cabinet approved the Inland Vessels Bill, 2021. It will replace the Inland Vessels Act, 1917 after passing in Parliament.The Bill will regulate safety, security and registration of inland vessels.
Features of the Bill:
- Unified law for the entire country, instead of separate rules framed by the States.
- It enlarges the definition of ‘inland waters’, by including tidal water limit and national waterways
- It also deals with pollution control measures of Inland Vessels
- Central database for recording the details of vessel, vessel registration, crew on an electronic portal.
- All non-mechanically propelled vessels will also have to be enrolled at the district, taluk or panchayat or village level.
- It directs the Central Government to designate a list of chemicals, substances, etc. as pollutants.
Important value additions
- India has about 14,500 km of navigable waterways which comprise of rivers, canals, backwaters, creeks, etc.
- As per the National Waterways Act 2016, 111 waterways have been declared as National Waterways (NWs).
- NW-1: Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly River System (Prayagraj-Haldia) with length 1620 km is the longest National Waterway in India.