New Delhi [India], July 29 (ANI): The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed a bill that seeks to promote cheaper and safer navigation, ensure protection of life and cargo and bring uniformity in the application of laws related to inland waterways and navigation.
The Inland Vessels Bill, 2021, was passed amid protests by the opposition over their demands including the probe into allegations of surveillance through Pegasus spyware.
Moving the bill for passage in the House, Ports, Shipping, and Waterways Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said it will go a long way in boosting trade, commerce and economic activities across the country.
He said the bill aims to fulfill the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards achieving a forward-looking and robust legal regime in the critical areas of infrastructure and governance.
The minister said that at present, navigation of mechanically propelled inland vessels plying in inland waters of the country is governed by the Inland Vessels Act, 1917.
"However, the Act has become obsolete and inadequate to address the increasing complexities of this sector, and the operational bottleneck inhibits smooth and interstate movement of inland vessels across the country," he said.
Sonowal, who faced interruptions from opposition during his brief remarks, said it is important that movement along the waterways is absolutely seamless across the state boundaries to realise the potential of inland water transport and promote it as a supplementary and eco-friendly mode of transport to the congested road and rail network.
"The Inland Vessels Bill, 2021 will go a long way in boosting trade, commerce and economic activities across the country, and shall promote national integration. A new legal regime that is favourable for future technological development, capable of facilitating present and future prospect of trade, transportation and safe navigation by inland vessels is the need of the hour," he said. (ANI)