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Blue Revolution in India – Why does it need more Marine Protected Areas? What is the Blue Revolution?

Blue Revolution in India – Why does it need more Marine Protected Areas? What is the Blue Revolution?

Relevance:

  • GS3 || Economy || Agriculture || Animal Husbandry

Why in the news?

Recently it was suggested by the prestigious ‘Nature’ journal that India, with its long coastline, has a major opportunity to boost fisheries yield by expanding Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) along its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and in parallel, protect the ocean’s capacity to capture carbon and boost biodiversity

Blue Revolution: India’s potential

  • The concept of rapid increase in the production of fish and marine products through package programmes is called the blue revolution.
  • India’s long coastline has the potential of becoming the strength of the economy particularly through the exploitation of the Blue Revolution.
  • India has rich and diverse fisheries resources. It can grow to the extent of a 10 trillion dollar economy as against 2.7 trillion dollar today with the help of the Blue Economy.
  • The marine fisheries resources are spread along the country’s vast coastline and 2.02 million square km Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and 0.53 million sq. km continental shelf area.
  • The inland resources are in the form of rivers and canals (1.95 lakh km), floodplain lakes(8.12 lakh hectares), ponds and tanks (24.1lakh hectares), reservoirs (31.5 lakh hectares), brackish water (12.4 lakh hectares), saline/alkaline affected areas (12 lakh hectares) etc.

Blue revolution in India:

  • The first ever step regarding Blue revolution was India during the Seventh Five-year plan (1985-1990) when the Central Government sponsored the Fish Farmers Development Agency (FFDA).
  • Later, during the 8th Five Year Plan (1992-97), the ‘Intensive Marine Fisheries Program’ was launched and eventually the fishing harbours in Visakhapatnam, Kochi, Tuticorin, Porbandar and Port Blair were also established over the period of time.
  • The main objective of this scheme is the promotion of fishing as an important activity in order to double the incomes of the farmers.
  • The ‘National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB)’ was established in 2006 as an autonomous organisation under the administrative control of the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, to enhance fish production and productivity in the country and to coordinate fishery development in an integrated and holistic manner.
  • Hiralal Chaudhuri and Dr. Arun Krishnsnan is known as the Fathers of Blue revolution in India.
  • Globally, the Blue Revolution first started in China and made the country the largest aquaculture value addition country in the world.

Important facts about aquaculture:

  • Increasing production: Currently, the Indian Fisheries Sector reached a production of 4.7 million tonnes of fish from a limit of 60,000 tonnes including 1.6 million tonnes of fish from freshwater aquaculture. In 2019-20, with an overall production of 142 lakh tons, India produced 8% of the global share.
  • High average growth rate: India is recorded to achieve an average annual growth of 14.8% as compared to the global average percentage of 7.5 in the production of fish and fish products.
  • Increasing export: The fishery has become India’s largest agricultural export over the last five years with a growth rate of 6% – 10%. India has become the world’s second-largest producer of fish with exports worth more than 47,000 crore rupees.
  • Contribution to the economy: The fisheries and aquaculture production contributes 1% and 5% to India’s GDP and Agricultural GDP respectively. Also, this sector provides livelihood to more than 2.8 crore people within the country.

Significance of Blue revolution: The recently concluded Blue Revolution Scheme (2015-2020) was launched in 2015-16 with Rs 3000 crore outlay has made vital contributions towards the sector’s development.

 Its objectives were:

  • Increase production: Completely tapping the total fish potential of India on both islands as well as in the marine sector and to triple the production by the year 2020.
  • Fishery as a modern industry: Transforming the fisheries sector into a modern industry through the utilisation of new technologies and processes.
  • Augment the income of farmers: Doubling the income of the fishers through increased productivity and improving the post-harvest marketing infrastructure including e-commerce, technologies, and global best innovators. To ensure the active participation of the fishers and the fish farmers in income enhancement.
  • Nutritional security: Developing the nutritional and food security of the nation.

The Blue revolution scheme has been successful in achieving most of its objectives as the production of fisheries sector already increased several times. Several changes such as

  1. The growth of inland aquaculture, specifically freshwater aquaculture.
  2. The mechanisation of capture fisheries.
  3. The successful commencement of brackish water shrimp aquaculture.

can be seen in the fisheries sector now. The Blue revolution scheme  has also helped enhance the income of farmers.

Challenges:

  • Untapped potential: The Economic Survey of India, 2019-20 estimated that, only 58% of the country’s inland potential has been tapped so far.
  • Lack of standardisation and sanitisation of Marine products: India lacks physical infrastructure to process and ensure world level sanitised marine products. This affects the export of Indian marine products as they are rejected by the respective food inspecting agencies in different countries.
  • Rampant economic activities: The unregulated economic activities have also taken a toll on the fisheries and aquaculture in India. Activities like coastal tourism, sea-port activities, oil spill disasters, harmful algae bloom, etc. have drastically reduced the bio diversities of the water bodies.
  • Depletion of Marine resources worldwide: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports highlights 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.
  • Unabated water pollution: Discharge of harmful substances like plastics and other waste into water bodies that cause devastating consequences for aquatic biodiversity.

Recent measures:

  • Blue Revolution 2.0/ Neel Kranti Mission: The focus of the Blue Revolution 2.0 is on development and management of fisheries.
    • This covers inland fisheries, aquaculture, marine fisheries including deep sea fishing, mariculture and all activities undertaken by the National Fisheries Development Board.
  • Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY): The Scheme is aimed to turn India into a hotspot for fish and aquatic products through appropriate policy, marketing and infrastructure support. With the Scheme, the government intends to bring all fishermen under the ambit of farmer welfare programmes and social security schemes.
    • It’s aim is to augment fish production to achieve its target of 15 million tonnes by 2020 under the Blue Revolution and raise it thereafter to about 20 million tonnes by 2022-23.
  • Organisational changes: The National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) was established in 2006 as an autonomous organisation under the administrative control of the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture.
    • But, now the NFDB works under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.
  • Greater financial allocation to CSSs in this sector: As compared to last year there has been a 34% increase in the budget for the fisheries sector in 2021-22.
    • The Fisheries department saw an increase in budget allocations from ₹825 crore in 2020-21 to ₹1,220 crore in 2021-22.
    • The Blue Revolution centrally sponsored schemes saw their budget allocation double, with the new Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana alone getting a ₹1,000 crore allocation
  • Initiatives under MGNREGA: The government under the MGNREGA has started to develop the farm ponds, where pisciculture is taking place.
  • Focus on Inland fishery: In Budget 2021-22, the government has focused on the development of inland fishing harbours and fish landing centres across main rivers such as Ganga, Brahmaputra.
    • This will benefit lakhs of traditional inland fishermen dependent on fishing in Ganga and Brahmaputra for their livelihood.
    • The development will be one of the steps to realise the call to transform ‘Namami’ Ganga to ‘Arth’ Ganga.
  • Value addition and diversification of Marine resources: The government has also announced in Budget 2021-22 to set up a multipurpose seaweed park in Tamil Nadu.
    • The proposed park would be the centre of production for quality seaweed-based products, developed on a hub and spoke model.

Way ahead:

  • Due to its long coastline and geographical diversity, India has enormous potential in aquaculture.
  • It can prove to be a significant source of alternative income of large sections of farmers.
  • With policy thrust from the union government, the state governments and people at large should explore the potential of aqua-farming as a livelihood priority.
  • The government should also ensure that the aquaculture practices are sustainable, profitable and scalable for farmers.

Model Mains Question:

  1. Critically evaluate the role of Blue Revolution (2015-2020) in socio-economic development of India. Do you think that the scheme has been successful to achieve its state objectives?