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NEW DELHI : In a major boost to development of  inland waterways system in the country, the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has found 25 out of 111 national waterways fit for cargo or passenger movements.

The identification is result of techno-economic feasibility and the Detailed Project Reports on the National Waterways carried out by IWAI as part of exercise to identify and develop waterway stretches that could be developed into complete economic corridors facilitating movement of both cargo and passengers. 

The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, in its attempt to promote inland water transport in the country, has declared 111 waterways (5 existing and the 106 new) as National Waterways (NWs) under the National Waterways Act, 2016.

In a written reply to question in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, the ministry detailed the plans taken by the government for better and effective Inland Water Transport in the country. Of the 25NWs, developmental work is already underway in 13 of them.

The ministry has also introduced other initiatives for growth of traffic on the National Waterways, that include Revision of Levy and collection of fees, enhanced regional trade using IWT model, using standard operating procedures (SPOs) for facilitating the stakeholders to use inland water transport and access the information related to NWs and Ro-Ro/Ro-Pax service for National Waterways which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February of 2021.

The projects for development of Inland Waterways are continuous and effective. The cargo movement on NWs has shown a 13 percent increase in 2020-21 compared 2019-20.

The ministry also suggested digital solutions for ease of doing business, such as the CAR-D (Cargo Data) Portal. It is a web-based portal for collection and compilation, analysis and dissemination of all cargo and cruise movement data of NWs to the stakeholders.

PANI or the Portal for Asset and Navigation Information is an integrated solution that compiles river navigation and infrastructure information on a single platform. 

The portal provides detailed information about the features of National Waterways and assets such as the fairways, infrastructure facilities, cross-river structures, and emergency services for facilitating transportation of cargo.

These solutions help increase the collaboration of divergent stakeholders, improve organizational consistency, increase resource agility, and enhances accountability for each stakeholder, which improves the management of the activities.

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