The Union Cabinet has given its approval to carry out official amendments in the National Waterways Bill, 2015 based recommendation of a parliamentary standing committee and states to declare 106 additional inland waterways, as the national waterways.
The amendments are based on the recommendations of the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture and comments of State Governments.
“It provides for enacting a Central Legislation to declare 106 additional inland waterways, as the national waterways. After the inclusion of 106 additional inlands waterways to the existing five national waterways, the total number of national waterways goes upto 111,” said a statement issued by the government.
The changes made in former bill includes omission of 10 waterways of Kerala, 17 waterways have been merged with the existing waterways and 18 waterways (5 Karnataka, 5 Meghalaya, 3 Maharashtra, 3 Kerala, 1 each from Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan).
In order to carry out these changes, an official amendment to the National Waterways Bill, 2015 will have to be moved in the Lok Sabha in the current Session of Parliament. Declaration of the above additional 106 waterways as National Waterways would not have any immediate financial implications.
The declaration of these National Waterways would enable authorities to develop the feasible stretches for Shipping and Navigation.
Measures to encourage ship building in India
The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for introducing measures to encourage shipbuilding and ship repair industry in India under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
It includes a policy for grant of financial assistance to shipyards, after delivery of ship, to counter cost disadvantages at 20 percent of the contract price or the fair price, whichever is lower; such assistance is to be reduced at 3 percent every three years and will be given for all types of ships.
This policy will be in force for ten years. The implementation of this policy would require budgetary support of Rs 4,000 crore over ten years. The proposals also include grant of a Right of First Refusal for Indian shipyards for government purchases; tax incentives and grant of infrastructure status for shipbuilding and ship repair industry.