Shipping ministry issues draft ‘Aids to Navigation Bill’ to replace 90-yr old law


PTI, Jul 10, 2020, 6:18 PM IST

New Delhi: To replace an over nine decades old law governing lighthouses, the shipping ministry has issued a draft Aids to Navigation Bill, 2020 seeking suggestions from stakeholders and general public, an official statement said on Friday.

The draft bill aims at repealing the colonial Lighthouse Act, 1927, and provides for empowering the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships (DGLL) with additional power and functions.

In accordance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for augmenting people’s participation and transparency in the governance, the “Ministry of Shipping has issued the draft of Aids to Navigation Bill, 2020 for suggestions from the stakeholders and general public,” the ministry said in the statement.

The draft bill proposes to incorporate the global best practices, technological developments and India’s international obligations in the field of marine navigation.

Union Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya said this initiative is part of the proactive approach adopted by the Ministry of Shipping by repealing archaic colonial laws and replacing them with modern and contemporary needs of the maritime industry.

Mandaviya said suggestions from the public and stakeholders will strengthen the provisions of the legislation, the statement added. The minister further said the bill aims to regulate state-of-the-art technologies of marine navigation, which earlier used to get tangled up in statutory provisions of the Lighthouse Act, 1927.

The draft bill provides for empowering the DGLL with additional power and functions such as vessel traffic service, wreck flagging, training and certification, implementation of other obligations under international conventions where India is a signatory. It also provides for identification and development of heritage lighthouses.

The draft bill comprises a new schedule of offences, along with commensurate penalties for obstructing and damaging the aids to navigation, and non-compliance with directives issued by the central government and other bodies under the draft bill.

With the advent of modern technologically improved aids to maritime navigation, the role of authorities regulating and operating maritime navigation has changed drastically, the statement said.

Therefore, the new law encompasses a major shift from lighthouses to modern aids of navigation, it added.

The draft bill has been uploaded on the DGLL’s website. Citizens can submit their suggestions and opinions regarding the draft bill to [email protected] before by July 24.

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