Parliament passes landmark ‘Marine Aids to Navigation Bill 2021’

Source: PIB

Introduced: Lok Sabha (15th March)

Passed: Lok Sabha (22nd March)

Passed: Rajya Sabha (27th July)

Present status: Received the assent of the President on the 31st July 2021.

About the Marine Aids to Navigation Bill 2021.

Aim: To replace the 90-year-old Lighthouse Act 1927.


  • The administration and management of Lighthouse and Lightships in India is governed by Lighthouse Act 1927 for safe navigation.
  • At the time of the enactment of the Lighthouse Act 1927, there were only 32 Lighthouses in then British India.
  • Presently, there are 195 Lighthouses and a number of advanced radio and digital aids to navigation administered under the said Act.
  • The new Act has been enacted to provide an appropriate statutory framework that reflects the modern role of marine aids in navigation. Further, to be in compliance with India’s obligations under International Conventions.

Key provisions of the Marine Aids to Navigation Bill 2021: The bill seeks to provide a framework for the development, maintenance, and management of aids to navigation in India. The key features include:

  1. Application: The Bill applies to the whole of India including various maritime zones including territorial waters, continental shelf, and exclusive economic zone.
  2. Aid to navigation: The Bill defines aid to navigation as a device, system or external to the vessels designed and operated to enhance the safety and efficiency of navigation of vessels and vessel traffic.
  3. Director General of Aids to Navigation: The central government can appoint the Director General to advise the central government on matters related to aids to navigation, among others.
  4. Central Advisory Committee: The central government may appoint a Central Advisory Committee(CAC) having special knowledge of the sector.
  5. Management of Vessel Traffic: The central government will be responsible for the development, maintenance and management of all general aids to navigation and vessel traffic services.
  6. Levy of marine aids to navigation dues: The Central Government can prescribe rates for marine aids to navigation dues. These dues will be levied and collected for every ship arriving at or departing from any port in India. Proceeds thereof shall be credited to the Consolidated Fund of India.
  7. Heritage Lighthouse: The Central Government can 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.
  8. Penalties: The Bill provides certain offences and penalties for intentionally causing obstruction of reduction or damage to any aid to navigation or vessel traffic services.
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