Facts Box: Waterways Usage Charges waived for three years

The Ministry of Shipping recently waived Waterways Usage Charges (WUC) for three years.

Highlights

The WUC have been waived off to achieve the target of GoI to make inland waterways as a supplementary, cheaper, and eco-friendly mode of transport. The Inland Waterways Authority of India operating under Ministry of Shipping has levied WUC for plying cargo vessels on the national waterways. The IWAI is the statutory authority that monitors and maintains waterways in India.

The Water Usage Charges were so far a big hindrance for traffic movement.

Benefits

The waiving is expected to increase inland waterway traffic movement to 110 million metric tonnes by 2022-23. It was 72 million metric tonnes in 2019-20. The reduced charges of water transport will attract more industries to use national waterways for their logistical needs. Also, it will reduce burden on other transport system in the country.

Background

There are 14,500 km of navigable waterways in India. This includes canals, rivers, backwaters and creeks. The National Waterways Act, 2016 pronounced 111 rivers, creeks, river stretches and estuaries in the country as National Waterways.

Despite all these measures, Inland Water Transport in India is miniscule as compared to other countries. It is just 0.5% in India. On the other hand, it is 8.3% in US, 8.7% in China, 7% iin Europe and 42% in Netherlands.

India-Russia Joint Technology Assessment and Accelerated Commercialization Programme

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) recently launched India-Russia Joint Technology Assessment and Accelerated Commercialization programme. The programme was launched in partnership with FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) and FASIE (Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises) of Russia

Highlights

The main objective of the programme is to connect startups and SMEs of India and Russia to develop technologies that will provide solutions for tomorrow. Also, the programme aims to address societal challenges globally.

About the Programme

The programme will run two annual cycles. Around 5 projects are to be funded under every cycle. The projects are to focus on medicines, pharmaceuticals, renewable energy, IT, and ICT. The FICCI is to implement the programme in India representing DST. The programme is accepting application under Technology transfer and partnership projects.

In order to implement the programme successfully, a dedicated portal called www.indiarussiainnovate.org has been developed.

FICCI

The FICCI was established in 1927 by Purshottamdas Thakurdas and GD Birla on the advice of Mahatma Gandhi. It is a not-for-profit organization. The headquarters of FICCI is in New Delhi and is present in 12 states and 8 countries in the world. Around 25,00 companies are registered with FICCI directly and indirectly.