Centre unveils draft 'Blue Economy' policy
The Hindu , Jan 28, 2021
India should deploy a dedicated satellite system for tracking and managing its fisheries sector. It should expand its patrolling in the high seas and put in place a 30-year “holistic” shipbuilding plan under the Atmanirbhar initiative to give a boost to shipping and shipbuilding sector, recommends a draft policy prepared by multiple committees and led by the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council. (PM-EAC).
The draft is part of India’s ‘Blue Economy’ Framework. This refers to tapping the economic potential from India’s oceans and also includes allied activities such as coastal tourism, mariculture, fisheries and deep-sea mining. Currently a “conservative” estimate of the size of the Blue Economy is about 4% of the Gross Domestic Policy, the report notes.
India’s 7,517 km long coastline is home to nine coastal States and 1,382 islands. With12 major ports and 187 non-major ports, handling about 1,400 million tonnes of cargo, 95% of India’s trade by volume transits by sea. India’s Exclusive Economic Zone of over two million square kilometres is rich in living and non-living resources and holds significant recoverable resources of crude oil and of recoverable natural gas. The coastal economy also sustains over 4 million fishermen and other coastal communities. “With these vast maritime interests, the Blue Economy in India has a vital relationship with the nation’s economic growth,” said the report.
The Ministry of Earth Sciences had drafted a similar policy in 2015 but was not finalised. The present report was prepared by seven committees that had government representatives as well as private organisations such as the Resource Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), the National Maritime Foundation (NMF), The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI), the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
The Group noted that while there is significant potential for tourism, it was necessary to curb uncontrolled and unplanned tourist activities that cause stress on the carrying capacity of coastal ecosystems, especially those on fragile island territories.