Transforming India’s Inland Waterways for Sustainable Growth

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The Ministry envisions a remarkable surge in cruise tourism and local traffic on national waterways by 2047, capitalizing on enhanced circuits. A recent meeting on the MV Ganges Queen highlighted these ambitious plans.


Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal emphasized the significance of inland waterways for progress, introducing the Inland Waterways Development Council (IWDC). Under PM Modi’s leadership, a commitment to unlock opportunities for sustainable development is evident.


The launch of ‘Harit Nauka – Guidelines for Green Transition of Inland Vessels’ marks a move towards eco-friendly inland waterways. Sonowal outlined a comprehensive action plan for developing additional river cruises, including route development, marketing, and infrastructure.


Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port in Kolkata, once in a loss, is now set to achieve a net surplus of over Rs 550 crores for FY2023-24. The government’s initiatives, including the Jal Marg Vikas Project and ambitious targets outlined in Maritime India Vision 2030, aim to elevate the role of Inland Water Transportation (IWT).


Progress in waterway infrastructure includes multimodal terminals at key locations and the ongoing construction of community jetties, enhancing regional connectivity. IWT’s role in promoting sustainable propulsion fuels is highlighted, with the deployment of electric catamaran vessels in key pilgrimage tourism locations.


With over 22,000 km of waterways across 24 states and 111 notified national waterways, IWT is transforming logistics and passenger movement. The Maritime Amrit Kaal Vision 2047 identifies 46 initiatives to enhance coastal shipping and IWT modal share, emphasizing port-based centers, coastal berths, and connectivity projects.


India’s coastline and inland waterways represent significant development potential, fostering inclusive growth and employment. The government’s strategic vision aims to realize this potential by 2047.

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