A bill to bring uniformity in application of law relating to inland waterways and navigation within the country was introduced in the Lok Sabha. Introducing the Inland Vessels Bill, 2021, newly appointed Ports, Shipping and Waterways Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the bill seeks to provide safety of navigation, protection of life & cargo and prevention of pollution that may be caused.
The Bill also seeks to bring in transparency and accountability of administration of inland water transportation, strengthen procedures governing inland vessels their construction, survey, registration, manning and navigation.
The newly introduced bill seeks to replace the Inland Vessels Act, 1917. A key feature of the bill is a unified law for the entire country, instead of separate rules framed by the states. The bill provides for a central database for recording the details of vessel, vessel registration, and crew on an electronic portal. Currently, 4,000 kms of inland waterways are operational in the country.