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9-January -2024

1. India’s First Inland Waterways Development Council commits Rs 45,000 crore for development of River Cruise Tourism.

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy – Infrastructure – Inland waterways
Crucial for UPSC: Inland Waterways Development’s economic impact, sustainable transport, and ambitious targets align with India’s development goals.
  • The inaugural Inland Waterways Development Council meeting in Kolkata outlined plans for a ₹45,000 crore investment in river cruise tourism and a ₹15,200 crore boost for inland waterway cargo trade, targeting significant growth by 2047 under the Maritime Amrit Kaal Vision.
Inland waterway transportation: Prospects:
  • Cost-effective:Ideal for bulk cargo movement, offering lower per-unit transportation costs compared to road or rail.
  • Environmentally friendly: Lower emissions and greenhouse gas footprint compared to other modes.
  • Reduced congestion:Alleviates pressure on land-based transportation networks.
  • Accessibility: Reaches remote areas often inaccessible by road or rail.
  • Economic development: Boosts local economies by facilitating trade and creating jobs.
  • Infrastructure limitations:Shallow water depths, aging locks and dams, and inadequate port facilities.
  • Competition from other modes: Needs to improve efficiency and speed to compete effectively.
  • Environmental concerns: Dredging, spills,and invasive species require careful management.
  • Regulatory hurdles:Streamlining of permits and harmonization of regulations across regions.
  • Sustainability: Balancing economic benefits with ecological protection.
Way Forward:
  • Modernization of infrastructure:Dredging, lock upgrades, and smart infrastructure integration.
  • Technological advancements: Automation,AI-driven logistics, and green vessel technologies.
  • Public-private partnerships: Leveraging private investments for infrastructure development and maintenance.
  • Policy reforms: Simplifying regulations, promoting sustainability, and supporting industry growth.
  • Multimodal integration:Seamless connection with other transportation modes for efficient logistics chains.
  • Community engagement:Addressing concerns and ensuring equitable benefits for local communities.
  • By addressing these challenges and capitalizing on its unique advantages, inland waterway transportation can play a vital role in sustainable and inclusive economic development.
PYQ: Enumerate the problems and prospects of inland water transport in India. (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2016) (200 words/12.5 m)
Practice Question: Critically analyze the potential of inland waterway transport in India, highlighting its economic benefits and environmental concerns. Suggest concrete measures for unlocking its true potential. (250 words/15 m)

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