July 23, 2021
The Central government on July 22, 2021 introduced the Inland Vessels Bill, 2021, in the Lok Sabha during the Monsoon Session of Parliament.
According to the government, the Bill aims to promote economical and safe transportation and trade through inland waters, and bring uniformity in the application of the law relating to inland waterways and navigation within the country.
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 and cargo and prevention of pollution that may be caused.
The Bill provides for a central database for recording the details of the vessels and their crew on an electronic portal.
One of the key features of the Bill is unified law for the 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 States.
Currently, 4,000 kms of inland waterways are operational in the country, according to government data.