The following are the salient features of the draft Inland Vessels Bill, 2016
The Draft Inland Vessels Bill, 2016 covers the Preamble and has 16 parts i.e. Part I to Part XVI. The salient features are:
- Part I– enables the Central Government to enact the Bill either in whole or in Part or enact any of its provisions on different dates or in different areas or regions or State Governments or Union Territories by means of a notification to such effect.
- Part II– Administrative provisions; prescribes the powers of the Central Government and State Government and prescribes appointment of Competent Authority, Advisory Committee and Department of Local Self Administration.
- Part III– deals with Survey of Passenger or Cargo Vessels; Provides for power of Central Government to prescribe standards to classify and categorize the mechanically propelled inland vessels, which will be complied with by the State Governments for implementing the standards so prescribed. The Certificate of Survey would have effect throughout India.
- Part IV– deals with Registration; Provides for new and improvised provisions pertaining to registration of vessels. Provides for a Central Data Base of inland vessels.
- Part V– deals with Manning, Qualification, Training, Examination and Certification; The improved provisions that include powers of Central Government to prescribe training and minimum manning scales. The new Bill provides for standards for criteria, standards and qualifications of Examiners and thereby ensures accountability and transparency in the selection, training and examination processes.
- Part VI – deals with Special Category Vessels; The power to prescribe standards for identification and categorization of Special Category Vessels are vested with Central Government and the provisions to be implemented by the State Government.
- Part VII – Navigation, Safety and Signals; Deals with improved standards of Navigation, Safety and Signals,
- Part VIII– Inland Vessels Based Pollution: equipped to cover matter or substance in any form designated as pollutants by the Central Government, that arises from both accidental and discharge pollution.
- Part IX– Wreck and Salvage; The power to appoint Receiver of Wreck in national waters is vested with Central Government and the power to administer inland waters within States is vested with the State Governments.
- Part X– Liability and Limitation of Liability: provides for principles of Liability and limitation of liability, which is not present in the IV Act 1917.
- Part XI– Insurance of Mechanically Propelled Vessels Plying in Inland Waters: the new Bill improves and expands the concept of insurance to ensure secured trade and trade practices.
12 Part XII – Casualty and Investigation: ensures improved provision of casualties and investigation compared to that dealt with in the IV Act 1917.
13 Part XIII – Regulation of Trade Practices: provides separately for cargo that are permitted and cargo that is dangerous and prohibited goods.
14 Part XIV– Non- Mechanically Propelled Inland Vessels: The provisions provide for recommendations to State Government regarding the administrative measures; and to the owners of non-mechanically propelled inland vessel to enroll under Part XIV.
15 Part XV covers Miscellaneous provisions and Part XVI covers the Penalties, Appeal, Fees, Rules Making Power and Repeal.
The Bill has been drafted after consultation with the important stake holders e.g., the concerned State Governments, DG (Shipping), State Maritime Boards, State Inland Water Transport (IWT) Directorates, Barge Owners Association, Indian National Ship Owners’ Association (INSA), Indian Coastal Conference Shipping Association (ICCSA) and Inland Vessel Operators. The proposed Bill will be introduced in Parliament after completing inter-Ministerial consultations and approval accorded by Union Cabinet.