The government pledges an investment of ₹45000 crore to promote river cruise tourism.

Delhi, New: In an effort to harness India’s interior waterways for economic growth, the ministry of ports, shipping, and waterways has approved a ₹45,000 crore investment to expand river cruise tourism. According to a statement from the ministry, by 2047, this investment will consist of ₹35,000 crore for cruise ships and ₹10,000 crore for cruise port facilities. At the first-ever Inland Waterways Development Council (IWDC) meeting in Kolkata, a decision was made to turn India’s inland waterways into vibrant commercial avenues.

State ministers and business executives convened under the direction of Shipping and Ports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to discuss ways to improve the viability of inland waterways. By the conclusion of Amrit Kaal, Sonowal emphasized, the IWDC wants to achieve sustainable development for an Atmanirbhar Bharat.

The plan is for increasing the number of river cruise waterways from eight to 26 and the number of cruise circuits with overnight stays from 17 to 80. With a substantial increase in cruise tourism traffic anticipated by 2047, the number of river cruise terminals is expected to increase from 15 to 185.

A ₹15,200 crore investment was decided upon during the Global Maritime India Summit (GMIS), which took place in Mumbai in October of last year, to improve inland waterways for cargo traffic. By 2047, this investment should support a growth rate of almost 400%, increasing volumes to as high as 500 million tonnes per annum (MTPA).

At the IWDC, Sonowal unveiled the “River Cruise Tourism Roadmap, 2047” and the “Harit Nauka” guidelines. Along with an action plan for the development of river cruises, the roadmap lists over thirty possible cruise itineraries.

In keeping with Maritime India Vision 2030 and Maritime Amrit Kaal Vision 2047, government initiatives seek to raise the modal share of inland waterway transportation (IWT) from 2% to 5% and elevate IWT cargo volume to above 500 MTPA. A few noteworthy projects include the Jal Marg Vikas Project for the Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system and the multimodal ports at Varanasi, Sahibganj, and Haldia.

In addition, the government is pushing alternate ship propulsion fuels; eight electric catamaran vessels have already been put into service for pilgrimage tourism. With 111 National Waterways spanning 24 states, IWT is poised to revolutionize passenger transportation and logistics throughout India.

46 projects are included in the Maritime Amrit Kaal Vision 2047 to enhance IWT, with an emphasis on building coastal berths, port-based agglomeration centers, and improved connectivity. India has 7,500 kilometers of coastline, as well as inland waterways, which may be used to generate inclusive growth and jobs.

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