First meeting of Inland Waterways Development Council

News Excerpt:
The first meeting of the Inland Waterways Development Council (IWDC) concluded in Kolkata to strengthen the Inland Water Transport (IWT) system in the country. 

About the meeting:

  • The IWDC was organised by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), the nodal agency for inland waterways in India, under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Government of India.
  • The meeting was chaired by the Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW), and attended by a total of 124 participants from the Central Government, State Government and UT Governments.
  • One of the key highlights of the meeting was the launch of Harit Nauka- Guidelines for Green Transition of Inland Vessels and River Cruise Tourism Roadmap.

Main objectives of the meeting: 

  • Function as a dedicated institutional mechanism directed towards accelerating the holistic development of inland waterways and the associated IWT ecosystem for enhanced cargo, passenger movement and river cruise tourism by enabling active dialogue and deliberation between the States, Union Territories and the Center.
  • Agenda: Centred around fairway development, enhancing cargo and passenger transport in IWT, the potential of river cruise tourism to boost economic activity, and sustainability practices in terms of non-fossil fuel-based vessel operations among others.

Key outcomes of the meeting: 

  • Successful platform for communicating the concerns and suggestions of the State/UT representatives to the Center and vice versa. 
  • MoPSW stressed upon the importance of State-level institutional structure and rules in ensuring that the planning and development of the state’s inland waterway ecosystem accounts for its unique characteristics and requirements.
  • The launch of Harit Nauka- Guidelines for Green Transition of Inland Vessels.
    • It is about strong commitments towards furthering passenger transport through waterways in an environment-friendly and sustainable manner by promoting the adoption of low-emission fuel as propulsion fuel for inland vessel operations (Green Vessels). 
  • The launch of River Cruise Tourism Roadmap 2047.
    • It focuses on four vital pillars, including Infrastructure, Integration, Accessibility, and Policy for promoting river cruise tourism. 
    • Over 30 possible routes and tourist circuits along inland waterways have been identified for further development.
  • Most states also unanimously highlighted the need for technical guidance and support from the Central Government in expediting the development of their waterway system. 
  • Representatives from IIT Kharagpur presented a computerized simulation of the working of an Open Pontoon system developed by the institute to enable faster pontoon operations. 
    • Pontoons are floating platforms that can be adapted to function in a multitude of ways during dredging operations. 
    • Pontoons are used by the dredging industry as heavy-duty work platforms for operations such as drilling, dredging, heavy lifting as well as for accommodations.


  • Collaborative efforts between the Central Government, States, And Union Territories should continue to address concerns, share insights, and collectively shape the future of Inland Water Transport (IWT) in India.
  • To improve the waterway system in our country, techno-economic feasibility studies should be undertaken to ensure that the planning, estimation, development, and execution of any project are done comprehensively and prudently.

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