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PRESS INFORMATION BUREAU

17-Oct -2023

1. Inland waterways transport is proving to be a game-changer: PM

Topic: GS3 – inland waterways

Context:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi affirmed the importance of transforming India’s inland waterways.
  • The Prime Minister described inland waterways as an environmentally friendly and cost-effective transportation mode.

Benefits of inland waterways:

  • Environmentally friendly: Inland waterways have lower carbon emissions and environmental impact compared to other transportation modes.
  • Cost-effective: They offer cost advantages for transporting goods over long distances, often with lower operational expenses.
  • Reduced road congestion: Inland waterways help ease road traffic congestion by diverting cargo transport to water routes.
  • Energy-efficient: Boats and barges on inland waterways require less fuel per ton-mile than trucks or trains.
  • Suitable for bulk cargo transport: Inland waterways are well-suited for transporting large quantities of raw materials and commodities.
  • Supports economic development: Developing and utilizing inland waterways can boost local economies and create jobs.

Challenges regarding inland waterways in India:

  • Infrastructure development: Inadequate infrastructure, including navigational aids, terminals, and ports, hinders the efficient use of inland waterways.
  • Maintenance and dredging: Regular maintenance and dredging are necessary to keep waterways navigable, and this can be challenging due to siltation and sedimentation.
  • Regulatory complexities: Dealing with various regulations and clearances at the state and central levels can pose administrative challenges.
  • Seasonal limitations: Many inland waterways are affected by seasonal changes in water levels, limiting year-round usability.
  • Coordination and logistics: Effective coordination among various stakeholders, including government agencies, operators, and businesses, is crucial but can be complex.
  • Competition with other modes: Inland waterways must compete with road and rail transport for cargo, which can be a challenge in terms of cost and efficiency.

Way forward:

  • Regular maintenance: Prioritize routine dredging and maintenance to keep waterways navigable throughout the year.
  • Simplify regulations: Streamline regulatory processes and clearances at both state and central levels to reduce administrative burdens.
  • Seasonal adaptability: Develop strategies to mitigate the impact of seasonal variations, such as building storage facilities and promoting multi-modal transport solutions.
  • Stakeholder collaboration: Foster cooperation among government agencies, private operators, and businesses to ensure effective and coordinated development of inland waterways.
  • Sustainable practices: Integrate environmental considerations and sustainability into waterway development plans, minimizing ecological impact.

Steps taken recently by Indian government in this regard:

  • National Waterway Development: The government declared several waterways as National Waterways, which are under development and maintenance to improve their navigability and connectivity.
  • Jal Marg Vikas Project: The Jal Marg Vikas Project on the Ganga River aims to create a sustainable and integrated transport infrastructure. It includes the development of multi-modal terminals, fairway development, and vessel operation.
  • Sagarmala Program: The Sagarmala Program focuses on the development of coastal and inland waterways to enhance port connectivity and reduce logistics costs.
  • Incentives for Cargo Transport: The government provided incentives and subsidies to encourage the use of inland waterways for cargo transport.
  • Ro-Ro Services: Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro-Ro) services were introduced to facilitate the movement of trucks and cargo containers on waterways.

Question: In the context of India’s inland waterways development, discuss the recent government initiatives and their impact on transportation, logistics, and economic growth.

2. Department of Consumer Affairs invites applications for filling up of two vacancies in National Consumer and Disputes Redressal Commission.

Topic: GS2 – governance

Context:

  • The Department of Consumer Affairs has two vacancies for the post of Members in the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.

About National Consumer and Disputes Redressal Commission:

  • Establishment: The NCDRC was established under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. It has been further strengthened and reconstituted under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
  • Headquarters: The NCDRC is headquartered in New Delhi, the capital city of India.
  • Appellate Authority: The NCDRC primarily functions as an Appellate Authority that hears and adjudicates appeals against the orders of State and District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions. It deals with cases of significant value or matters of legal importance.
  • Jurisdiction: The NCDRC has jurisdiction over the entire country and can hear cases related to consumer disputes from across India.
  • Composition: Members are typically retired judges of the Supreme Court of India or individuals with vast experience in consumer protection and related fields.
  • Powers: The NCDRC has the power to issue orders and judgments, including awarding compensation to aggrieved consumers and passing orders against erring businesses or service providers.

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