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Context: In this episode, the spotlight is on Marine Aids to Navigation Act, 2021. The Act provides for a framework for the development, maintenance, and management of aids to navigation in India. Before the detailed analysis lets take a look at the highlights of the Act. The Act replaces over 90-year-old Lighthouse Act of 1927.
Replacement of Lighthouse Act: It is proposed to replace the nine decades old colonial Lighthouse Act, 1927, to incorporate the global best practices, technological developments and India's International obligations in the field of aids to marine navigation.
Empowerment of DGLL: It 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.
Aids to Navigation Cess: Every ship arriving at or departing from any port in India will have to pay cess at rates notified by the Central government.
Heritage Lighthouse: The central government may designate any aid to navigation under its control as a heritage lighthouse. In addition to their function as aids to navigation, such lighthouses will be developed for educational, cultural, and tourism purposes.
Central Advisory Committee: The central government may appoint a Central Advisory Committee (CAC) consisting of persons representing the interests affected by the Bill, or having special knowledge of the sector.
The government may consult the CAC on matters including:
Further, the CAC may also appoint sub-committees for additional advice on these matters.
Salient Features of the Bill
Levy of marine aids to navigation dues: The Bill provides that marine aids to navigation dues will be levied and collected for every ship arriving at or departing from any port in India, at the rate specified by the central government from time to time. The central government may wholly or partially exempt certain vessels from these dues.
Any dispute related to the marine aids to navigation dues, expenses, or costs, will be heard and determined by a civil court having jurisdiction at the place where the dispute arose.
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