The Ministry of Shipping has issued the draft of Aids to Navigation Bill, 2020 for suggestions from the stakeholders and general public.
The draft bill is proposed to replace the almost nine decades old Lighthouse Act, 1927, to incorporate the global best practices, technological developments and India's International obligations in the field of Aids to Marine Navigation.
Union Minister of State of Shipping (Independent Charge) Mansukh Mandaviya said that this initiative was part of the proactive approach adopted by his department for repealing the archaic colonial laws and replacing them with a modern framework to meet the needs of the Indian maritime industry. Mandaviya emphasised that suggestions from the public and stakeholders would strengthen the provisions of the legislation. He further added that the bill aimed to regulate state-of-the-art technologies of marine navigation, which was earlier used to tangle in statutory provisions of the Lighthouse Act, 1927.
The draft bill provides for empowering Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships (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 undergone a drastic transformation. Therefore, the new law encompasses a major shift from lighthouses to modern aids of navigation.
The draft bill is uploaded on the Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships’ website , where citizens can submit their suggestions and opinions regarding the draft bill to email@example.com latest by July 24.