National waterways bill passed by parliament

New Delhi: Parliament on Wednesday passed the National Waterways Bill, which provides for declaring certain inland waterways as national waterways with the Rajya Sabha giving its nod to the legislation.

The bill, passed by Lok Sabha in December 2015, also repeals the five acts on the existing national waterways, which will not be covered under this bill.

Under it, 106 additional inland waterways will be added to the list of national waterways, taking the number to 111. “While inland waterways are recognised as a fuel efficient, cost effective and environment friendly mode of transport, it has received lesser investment as compared to roads and railways.

“Since inland waterways are lagging behind other modes of transport, the central government has evolved a policy for integrated development of inland waterways,” said the bill’s statement of objectives.

Under entry 24 of the union list of the constitution’s seventh schedule, the central government can make laws on shipping and navigation on inland waterways which are classified as national waterways by parliament.