India to invest ₹45,000 cr to develop river cruise tourism: Sarbananda Sonowal

India will invest around ₹45,000 crore to develop river cruise tourism in the country, with an objective to enable inland waterways as conduits of economic growth and commerce.

“We are going to invest ₹45,000 crore in river cruise tourism. It will increase the passenger capacity significantly in river cruises by 2047,” said Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush Sarbananda Sonowal on the sidelines of the first Inland Waterways Development Council (IWDC) meeting in Kolkata on Monday.

The meet, chaired by Sonowal, was attended by key stakeholders, including ministerial representations from States, as well as prominent policy makers and industry leaders.

Of the ₹45,000 crore, an estimated ₹35,000 crore has been earmarked for cruise vessels, and another ₹10,000 crore to develop cruise terminal infrastructure by 2047.

At the IWDC, a roadmap was chalked to enable capacity in an additional 26 waterways fit for river cruise tourism. The number of cruise circuits with night stays will be increased from 17 to 80 during the same time.


In an effort to boost infrastructure in the inland waterways, the number of river cruise terminals will be increased up to 185, registering a growth of 1233 per cent from the present strength of 15 terminals, according to a release issued by the Ministry.

“Building on the capacity of enhanced circuits, the cruise tourism traffic with night stays will be moved up from 5,000 to 1.20 lakh by 2047. Similarly, the local cruise tourism traffic on National Waterways without night stay to be increased from 2 lakh to 15 lakh by 2047,” said the release.

Sonowal launched ‘Harit Nauka’ guidelines and ‘River Cruise Tourism Roadmap, 2047’ at the inaugural session of IWDC.

With the launch of ‘Harit Nauka – Guidelines for Green Transition of Inland Vessels,’ MoPSW has embarked on a journey towards a sustainable and eco-friendly future for the country’s inland waterways.

The Minister said around ₹15,000 crore would be invested in green transport over the next 10 years to develop 1,000 vessels and ferries.

“In total, there will be around ₹60,000-crore investment by 2047. And, it will be done under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode. The projects will help generate thousands of jobs,” the minister added.

The IWDC meet was organised by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), the nodal agency for inland waterways in India, under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways (MoPSW), Government of India.

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