Aatma Nirbhar Bharat-Measures to Strengthen Blue Economy and Sea based Logistics
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Topic: General Studies 2, 3:
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
- Indian economy and mobilization of resources
The Fisheries sector is responsible for providing nutritional security, livelihood support and employment to millions of Indians.
- India is the second major producer of fish through aquaculture in the world.
- It is the 4th largest exporter of fish in the world.
- It contributes 7.7% to the global fish production.
- Fish constituted about 10% of total exports from India and almost 20% of agriculture exports in 2017-18.
- The fisheries and aquaculture production contribute around 1% to India’s GDP and over 5% to the agricultural GDP.
- Around 28 million people are employed in the fisheries sector in India.
The importance –
It is estimated that the world’s population will exceed 9 billion by 2050. With the increase in the population, the demand for nutritional security also goes on parallel lines. The agriculture and the allied sectors have to contribute the food demand and supply will play an important role combined with other food sectors to meet the nutritional demands of the growing population.
The marine capture fisheries of our country has become stagnant and there is a paradigm shift from capture to culture based fisheries. Aquaculture activities have to be taken up in India as the alternative way of meeting the growing demand of nutritional security.
Indian Government’s Effort to Improve Fisheries Sector
- Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF) during 2018-19: It will cater to creation of fisheries infrastructure facilities both in marine and inland fisheries sectors to enhance the fish production in the country.
- Extension of Kisan Credit Cards (KCC) facilities to fishers and fish farmers to help them in meeting their working capital needs.
- Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana: It aims to achieve 22 million tonnes of fish production by 2024-25. It is also expected to create employment opportunities for 5.5 million people. At a total estimated investment of Rs. 20,050 crores, intends to address critical gaps in fish production and productivity, quality, technology, post-harvest infrastructure and management, modernisation and strengthening of value chain, traceability, establishing a robust fisheries management framework and fishers’ welfare.
- Blue Revolution: It focuses on creating an enabling environment for integrated development and management of fisheries for the socio-economic development of the fishers and fish farmers.
The Way Forward
- There is a need to streamline policies and programs to take R&D benefits to the farmers and fishers for orderly and sustainable utilisation of all potential resources with focus on increasing efficiency and reducing environmental footprint.
- We need to diligently explore the resources available in the country such as waterlogged area, wetlands, lakes, reservoirs, canals, ponds, tanks, floodplains, backwaters, lagoons, low saline inland areas for increasing the fish production.
- Lay special thrust on increasing productivity in inland fisheries along with full utilisation of the country’s deep sea fishing potential.
- It is true that China has the innate advantage of more than twice the coastal line of India and has larger areas of inland water resources and reservoirs. But, that should not deter India because it has one of the largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) areas of over 2 million sq km compared to China’s 0.88 million sq km.
- The development of EEZ calls for new systems and large-scale deployment of offshore aquaculture activities of high value species.
- Ocean ranching is one area which will yield rich social dividends, without damaging the ecosystem.
- India also needs a single uniform national data on marine fisheries because authentic data truly reflect ground realities which in turn help in efficient planning for the future.’
- Role of logistics
- Food processing and marketing cannot become complete in the absence of logistics. A robust logistics support requires complementary infrastructural facilities like cold chain and storage facilities to handle peak harvests.
- Creation of cold chains can help reduce spoilage losses which are currently at 30-35 per cent.
- Marketing infrastructure and cloud-based market intelligence should also be put in place.
- India should also take the lead in empowering the discernible fish fans across the world by allowing them to trace the back history of the fish it cultivates as to how they were grown, what they were fed with and the methods by which they were caught and processed. It means a quality certification authenticating globally accepted good management practices involving the twin elements of sustainability and traceability both for the marine and inland sectors.
- Sustainability being the pivot of 2030 Master Plan, there should also be efforts to integrate aquaculture and agriculture to boost farmers’ income.
- For the first time, the Indian Government will award best performing States in the Fisheries Sector.
- Best States: (1) Odisha (amongst Marine states); (2) Uttar Pradesh (amongst Inland states); (3) Assam (amongst Hilly and NE states).
Connecting the Dots:
- Developing entrepreneurship in the field of livestock and fisheries can be a game changer for the rural economy. Elucidate.
- Scientists consider the oceans to be Earth’s last true frontier and a great resource base for the future. Why? In this light, examine the significance of blue water economy.