News: The Government of India, the Government of Assam and the World Bank signed a loan agreement of $88 million for the implementation of Assam Inland Water Transport Project.
Significance of Assam Inland Water Transport Project
- Will help Assam improve the passenger ferry infrastructure and its services
- Strengthen the capacity of the institutions running the inland water transport
Inland Waterways in India: Number and Extent:
- As per the National Waterways Act, 2016, 111 have been declared as National Waterways (NW)
- These waterways pass through 24 states and two union territories, with an approximate total length of 20274 km
Legal and Policy regime for Inland Waterways in India
- National Waterways Act 2016
- The Act declared 111 rivers or river stretches, creeks, estuaries as National (inland) Waterways.
- It enables the Central Government to regulate these waterways for development with regard to shipping, navigation and transport through mechanically propelled vessels.
- Jal Marg Vikas Project: Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) aims at capacity augmentation of navigation on National Waterway-1 (NW-1).The project is being implemented by GOI with technical assistance and investment support of the World Bank.
- Sagarmala Project: Along with development of coast shipping routes, the project seeks to inland waterways to drive industrial development. It aims to reduce the logistics costs by doubling the share of domestic waterways in the modal mix from current 6 per cent (PIB)
- Interlinking of Rivers Programme: The project is expected to offer potential benefits to the transport sector through navigation.
Inland Waterways Authority of India: It was formed in 1986. It undertakes projects for development and maintenance of IWT infrastructure on national waterways through grant received from Ministry of Shipping.