Parliament passed the Marine Aids to Navigation Bill 2021, which aims to replace over 90-year-old Lighthouse Act 1927.
It aims to incorporate the global best practices, technological developments and India's International obligations in the field of Marine Aids to Navigation and promote ease of doing business.
The bill alsi aims to adopt state-of-the-art technologies of marine navigation which were not covered under the statutory provisions of the old Lighthouse Act 1927.
Post-Independence, 17 Lighthouses came under the administrative control of India, which have now increased manifold to meet the growing needs of the shipping industry.
Presently, there are 195 Lighthouses and number of advanced radio and digital aids to navigation administered under the said Act.
Lighthouses have also been globally identified as a major tourist attraction due to scenic location, typical architecture and heritage value.
The benefits of the new bill include:
1) Improved Legal Framework for Matters related to Aids to Navigation & Vessel Traffic Services and covers the future developments in the field of Marine Navigation.
2) Management of Vessel Traffic Services for enhancing the safety and efficiency of shipping and to protect environment.
3) Skill development through Training and Certification for the operators of "Aids to Navigation" and "Vessel Traffic Services" at par with International standards.
4) Auditing and Accreditation of Institutes to cater to the need of Training and Certification at par with global standards.
5) Marking of "Wreck (a ship that has sunk or been badly damaged at sea)" in general waters to identify sunken / stranded vessels for safe and efficient navigation.
6) Development of Lighthouses for the purpose of education, culture and tourism, which would tap the tourism potential of coastal regions and contribute to their economy.