NEW DELHI: The Lok Sabha on Monday passed a bill to develop 101 waterways on various rivers across the country to promote water transportation.
Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said India was lagging behind others in the area and outlined how the government was developing national waterways to cut logistics cost, make Indian industry competitive and help develop smart townships along the rivers.
The minister said the government was aiming to garner `1 lakh crore to fund the projects, which includes `50,000 crore from the World Bank, investment of profits of shipping PSUs into a subsidiary company and obtaining dollar loans at cheap rates, besides seeking Budget funds.
Gadkari said his ministry was working to develop three more major ports, besides the existing 12, as the aim is to reduce the logistics cost with a view to promote exports, generate employment and boost tourism and growth. “The Make-in-India dream cannot be realised if logistics cost is not reduced. So waterways are being given a priority. We want to work with the state governments,” Gadkari said, during the debate on the National Waterways Bill, 2015. He said the proposed legislation would help fishermen and business and address problems of unemployment.