The bill was moved in Rajya Sabha by Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal on 19 July 2021 and it was passed yesterday.
The Marine Aids to Navigation Bill 2021 has been passed by the Parliament, which aims to replace over 90-year-old Lighthouse Act of 1927. The bill was moved in Rajya Sabha by Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal on 19 July 2021 and it was passed yesterday (27 July 2021). According to the ministry, the bill will now go to the President for his assent. This initiative is part of the Union Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways’ proactive approach by repealing colonial laws as well as replacing them with legislations catering to the maritime industry’s modern and contemporary requirements, Sonowal said.
The Union Minister also said that the Marine Aids to Navigation Bill 2021 aims to adopt marine navigation’s state-of-the-art technologies which were not covered under the statutory provisions of the old Lighthouse Act. The new Act will enable effective and harmonized functioning of aids to marine navigation as well as Vessel Traffic Services along the coastline of India. According to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, the benefits include:
1) Better Legal Framework for issues that are related to Vessel Traffic Services as well as Aids to Navigation and also cover Marine Navigation’s future developments
2) Vessel Traffic Services’ management for enhancing efficiency and safety of shipping as well as to protect the environment
3) Development of skill through training and certification for ‘Aids to Navigation’ as well as ‘Vessel Traffic Services’ operators at par with global standards
4) Auditing as well as Accreditation of Institutes in order to cater to the need of training and certification at par with international standards
5) For safe and efficient navigation, marking of “Wreck” in general waters to identify sunken or stranded vessels
6) Lighthouse development for education, culture, tourism purposes, which would give a boost to the tourism industry of coastal regions as well as contribute to their economy