Context: The Ministry of Shipping has issued the draft of Aids to Navigation Bill, 2020 for suggestions from the stakeholders and general public.

More on the news: 

  • The new bill is in accordance with the government’s vision for augmenting people’s participation and transparency in the governance.
  • The suggestions from the public and stakeholders will strengthen the provisions of the legislation.

Need for the new law:

  • Changing role of authorities with changing technology: 
    • With the advent of modern technologically improved aids to maritime navigation, the role of authorities regulating and operating maritime navigation has changed drastically. 
    • Therefore the new law encompasses a major shift from lighthouses to modern aids of navigation.

About the draft Aids to Navigation Bill, 2020:

  • 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.
    • The 1927 Act aims to consolidate and amend the law relating to the provision, maintenance and control of lighthouses by the Government in India.
  • Salient features of the draft:
    • The bill aims to regulate state-of-the-art technologies of marine navigation which was earlier used to tangle in statutory provisions of 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.