Daily Answer Writing
07 June 2021

Q) What are the challenges in the road to achieve a 'Blue Revolution' in India. Evaluate the effectiveness of the steps taken by the government in this regard. (250 Words)

Source: <https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1724781>

GS 3: Agriculture

Approach Answer:

Introduction: ‘Blue Revolution 'or Neel Kranti is a revolution called by the PM in fisheries sector;  It refers to an explosive growth in the aquaculture industry. Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying. India aims a fish production target of about 20 million tonnes by 2022-23.

 

  • Challenges in Blue revolution:
  1. Unutilized Aquaculture Potential: India uses only about 40% of the available ponds, tanks and other water bodies for freshwater aquaculture and 15% of total potential of brackish water resources.
  2. Overfishing: FAO  points out that nearly 90% of the global marine fish stocks have either been fully exploited or overfished or depleted to the extent that recovery may not be biologically possible.
  3. Discharge of harmful substances like plastics and other waste into water bodies that cause devastating consequences for aquatic life
  4. Marine boundary disputes: Indian fishermen often cross Indian EEZ accidentally and get arrested by Pakistan and Sri Lanka
  5. Changing climate: It has great impact especially on marine fisheries with challenges like coral bleaching, ocean acidification and rise in sea temperature.
  6. Risk coverage: The inputs required in the fisheries are costly. It is thus vital to have accidental and life insurance in the sector.
  7. Technology Up-gradation:  Most fishers in India still use traditional ways of fishing which can be inefficient.

 

  • Recent Initiatives taken by the government in this regard:
  1. A separate ministry: Separating it from ministry of Agriculture giving it as separate identity - Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying.
  2. Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana: Intends to bring all fishermen under the ambit of farmer welfare programmes and social security schemes. It aaddresses critical gap in the value chain including infrastructure modernisation, traceability, production, productivity, post harvest management and quality control.
  3. Using MGNREGA Funds: The government under the MGNREGA has started to develop the farm ponds, where pisciculture is taking place
  4. Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries - formed by merging all the on-going schemes. It has the following components
  5. Development of Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture:  cages/pens in reservoirs and other open water bodies, refrigerated & insulated trucks, Traditional Crafts Motorised, auto rickshaws, motor cycles & bicycles with ice box.
  6. Development of Marine Fisheries, Infrastructure and Post-Harvest Operations: Like Fishing harbours, landing centres,  ice plants & cold storage, fish/prawn hatcheries.
  7. Strengthening of Database & Geographical Information System of the Fisheries Sector,
  8. Institutional Arrangement for Fisheries Sector
  9. Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) and other need-based Interventions.
  10. Nat. Scheme of Welfare of Fishers: Insurance cover, Skill training, assistance for Traditional/Artisanal fishermen,  safety kits for Fishermen at Sea, construction of houses for fishermen.

 

  • Infrastructure development under Sagarmala Project.

 

  • Effectiveness of these initiatives:
  1. Adoption of New techniques: of fish breeding, rearing, marketing and export - FFDA's initiatives.
  2. Annual production increased: 4.7 million tonnes including 1/3rd from freshwater aquaculture today, from just a few thousands tonnes five decades ago(before blue revolution).
  3. Growth Provided: Average annual growth of 14.8% in production of fish and fish products in the last decade as compared to the global average of 7.5% in the same period.
  4. Export: Fisheries are now India’s single largest agricultural export with a growth rate of 6-10% in the last five years. In comparison, the growth rate of the farm sector in the same period is around 2.5%.
  5. World’s 2nd largest fish producer with exports worth more than 47,000 crore rupees.
  6. Major markets for our products: USA is the largest market for Indian seafood products with a share of 26.46%, followed by South East Asian Countries- 25.71% and the European Union Nations- 20.08%.
  7. Contribution to GDP: The fisheries and aquaculture production contribute 1% to India’s GDP & over 5% to agricultural GDP.

 

Way Forward: Development of Fisheries can give various advantages  to India, for example Nutritional security, Generate employment and export earnings Ensure inclusive development and empower fishers and aquaculture farmers.  India’s long coastline has the potential of becoming the strength of the economy. For this, India needs to develop more scientifically its fishing system and other related aspects such as freezing, packaging, etc.

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