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Lok Sabha clears National Waterways Bill to develop 101 waterways

Lok Sabha clears National Waterways Bill to develop 101 waterways

National Waterways Bill, 2015 was passed by the Lok Sabha that aims to develop 101 waterways in the country. This will be in addition to the five existing National Waterways.

Inland waterways, comprising rivers, lakes, canals, creeks and backwaters, extend about 14,500 km across the country. However, potential of this mode of transport has not been fully exploited so far and so government planned to bring this Bill to enhance its utility.

Government’s plan:

  • Ministry has hired foreign consultants to seek technical expertise for construction of water ports.
  • Union Government wants to work with state government support. If some state government says they do not want to work, we will not work.
  • plans to develop Yamuna river way in next two years that would make it possible for tourists to travel to Taj Mahal from Delhi on catamaran.
  • LNG terminals will be built to ensure supply of natural gas for transportation.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust has been entrusted to form a subsidiary company to take up such projects.
  • Government will develop a Rs 500 crore water gate at Farakka, a tender of which will be issued in January 2016.
  • Industrial area, pre-cooling plants, coal storages will come along river side. Fishermen will be most benefited as it will help fisheries, food processing and packaging industry will come up and that can be sent to Haldia port and exported to world market
  • Multimodal terminals at Allahabad, Varanasi, Gazipur in UP, Sahibganj in Jharkhand and Haldia in West Bengal will be set up which will have rail and road connectivity. Besides, 27 water ports including one at Patna will be built.
  • The government has already decided to launch PM Jal Marg Yojna and projects for setting up dry and satellite ports, besides converting riverways into waterways.

Fund for the project:

  • Rs 50,000 crore from World Bank,
  • Investment of profits of shipping PSUs into a subsidiary company,
  • Dollar loan at cheaper rates,
  • Funds from the Budget.


  • To realize ‘Make-in-India’ dream, logistics costs need to be reduced, (logistic cost will reduce to 15 per cent from 30 per cent).
  • To provide a cheaper mode of transport and reduce traffic burden on roads. (water transportation cost is barely 25 paise a km in comparison to Re 1 by railways and Rs 1.5 a km through roads).
  • To increase India’s global contribution to international trade and to promote exports
  • To generate employment.
  • To enhance India’s global climate contribution. By reducing traffic burden on roads, it will also help curb pollution.
  • To make Indian industry more competitive
  • To help develop smart townships along the rivers
  • Development of waterways will also help in reducing road accidents. About 5 lakh accidents occur on roads every year in which about 1.5 lakh lose their lives.
  • Besides, it will promote tourism and fisheries

Five of the river-stretches, which have been declared as National Waterways, include

  1. Ganga-Bhagirathi- Hooghly river system (Allahabad-Haldia-1,620 km);
  2. Brahmaputra (Dhubri-Sadiya-891 km);
  3. West Coast Canal (Kottapuram-Kollam) along with Udyogmandal and Champakara Canals-(205 km);
  4. Kakinada-Puducherry canals along with Godavari and Krishna rivers (1,078 km) and
  5. East Coast Canal integrated with Brahmani river and Mahanadi delta rivers (588 km).

Other water transport development schemes of Government of India

  1. Pradhan Mantri Jal Marg Yojana
  • Government has launched this scheme for establishing dry and satellite ports
  • The scheme also proposes converting river ways into waterways
  • The scheme aims to use coastal line, rivers and inland for developing a strong water transport network
  • 90% of Exim cargo in India is transported through ships and the contribution of domestic cargo is only 10%. The scheme is being launched in a bid to boost industry prospects and water transport simultaneously
  • There are a total of 6 lakh Indian seafarers at present who will benefit from this scheme
  1. Sagar Mala project
  • It is a strategic and customer-oriented initiative of the Government of India to modernize 12 Major Portsso that port-led development can be augmented and coastlines can be developed to contribute in India’s growth.
  • The project was launched by the Ministry of Shipping in Karnataka on 31 July 2015
  • A National Sagarmala Apex Committee (NSAC), composed of the Minister incharge of Shipping, with Cabinet Ministers from stakeholder Ministries and Chief Ministers / Ministers incharge of ports of maritime states as members, will provide policy direction and guidance for the initiative’s implementation, shall approve the overall National Perspective Plan (NPP) and review the progress of implementation of these plans
  • It aims to
  1. Transform the existing Ports into modern world class Ports and
  2. Integrate the development of the Ports, the Industrial clusters and hinterland and efficient evacuation systems through road, rail, inland and coastal waterways resulting in Ports becoming the drivers of economic activity in coastal areas
  • The project includes
  1. Modernization of ports and islands,
  2. Setting up of coastal economic zones,
  3. Setting up of new major ports and fish harbors.
  • The total investment in the project would be to the tune of70000 crore (US$10 billion)

Major Ports include:

  1. Kandla-Gujarat
  2. JNPT- Maharashtra
  3. Mumbai-Maharashtra
  4. Mormugao-Goa
  5. New Mangalore-Karnatka
  6. Cochin-Kerala
  7. Tuiticorin-TN
  8. Ennore-TN
  9. Chennai-TN
  10. Vishakhapanam-AP
  11. Paradeep-Odisha
  12. Haldia-WB

Proposed Major Ports:

  1. Sagar island-WB
  2. Colachel-TN
  3. Tadadi-Karnataka
  4. Wadhwan-Maharashtra
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