Inland Vessels Bill, 2021
19th Aug, 2021
Recently, The Union Cabinet has unveiled the Inland Vessels Bill, 2021, which will replace the Inland Vessels Act, 1917.
Key features of the bill
- This will be the unifying law of the whole world and will replace the different laws made by the Nations
- The registration certificate issued under the proposed law will be deemed to be valid for all countries in the United States and the Union Territories, and there will be no need to seek special permits in the States
- A total of 4000 kilometers of waterways used
- According to the bill, a central database will be maintained that will record the details of each vessel such as its registration and personnel, all on an electronic site
- Vessel vessels will be required to register legally, and non-mechanized vessels will also be required to register by region, taluk or pan or valley
- Extends the definition of ‘inland water’, by including seawater and national waterways declared by Central Government
Objectives of Inland Vessels Bill, 2021
- This Bill will promote economic and safe transportation and trade of inland waterways and bring uniformity in the application of the law
- It will also help in reducing the water pollution caused by these inland vessels as this bill directs the Central Government to designate a list of chemicals, substances, etc. as pollutants
Criticism of the bill
- Bill takes away a lot of rights of the states and vests them in the hands of the Centre.
Inland Waterway in India
- India has around 15,000 km of inland waterways network that comprise rivers, channels, backwaters, creeks, etc.
- In 2016, 111 inland waterways were notified as National Waterways of India under the National Waterways Act, 2016.
- Of these, 13 National Waterways are operational for shipping and navigation and cargo/passenger vessels are moving on them, according to the government.
- The Inland Waterways Authority of India which comes under the Ministry of Shipping is developing the National Waterways for commercial navigation, with assistance from World Bank.