Transforming India's Blue Economy into a Green Engine of Growth

Published By : Admin | February 9, 2024 | 21:40 IST

“We are moving towards a future where the Blue Economy will be the medium to create a Green Planet.”
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi

In the post-2014 era, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken India on a visionary journey, harnessing its vast potential, bringing in newer opportunities, and taking the country to greater heights.

Blue Economy is one such area that has been high on the government agenda given its potential for robust economic growth along with welfare. With the Amrit Kaal Vision 2047 for the Indian maritime economy, the Modi government has dedicated projects exceeding Rs. 23,000 crores, marking a significant step into the future.
The term ‘blue economy’ refers to the sustainable utilisation or greening of marine and coastal resources for exploration, improved livelihoods, and economic growth without compromising the health of these ecosystems. It encompasses renewable energy, fisheries, aquaculture, shipping, and tourism, among others.

India has a unique maritime position given its extensive 7,500 kilometers coastline running across nine states, over a thousand islands, and innumerable major and minor ports. Furthermore, India boasts of an expansive Exclusive Economic Zone spanning 2.4 million square kilometers. This vast maritime domain significantly contributes to the nation's rich diversity of both living and non-living resources, including valuable reserves such as crude oil and natural gas that are ripe for exploration and extraction.

Fisheries and aquaculture are crucial sources of food, nutrition, and national income, supporting nearly 3 crore fishers and fish farmers in India. Realising the pivotal role that the fisheries and aquaculture sector can play in sustaining and enriching livelihoods, the Modi government has galvanised transformative policies and programs facilitating holistic development of the sector. The efforts took form via the Blue Revolution Scheme with an investment of Rs. 5,000 crore followed by the Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund, and creation of a dedicated Ministry for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying in 2019.

Building upon the successes of these initiatives, the government introduced its flagship scheme called PM Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) to further augment fisheries production, productivity, and livelihoods—keeping infrastructural development at the center.

Backed by highest-ever investment of Rs. 20,050 crore, PMMSY aims to plug critical gaps in infrastructure—right from production, technology use to post-harvest management. Under the scheme, robust physical infrastructure has taken concrete shape. In Inland fisheries, approved projects include 44,408 cages, 20,849 hectares for inland aquaculture, 11,940 re-circulatory aquaculture systems, 3,995 biofloc units, 2,855 hectares for inland saline-alkaline culture, 788 fish and 4 scampi hatcheries, and 14 brood banks.

2,255 bio-toilets in fishing vessels, 1,518 open sea cages, 1,172 upgrades to existing fishing vessels, 463 deep-sea fishing vessels, and 1,380 hectares for brackish water aquaculture, among others have been approved under the category of marine fisheries.

Under PMMSY, fishermen are also assisted with replacement boats and nets, a livelihood support during fishing ban or lean periods along with extension and support services through 2,494 Sagar Mitras and 79 Matsya Seva Kendras. Infrastructure services like fish vending centres, fish feed plants, cold storages, fish retail markets, and value-added enterprise units have also been put in place. To support aquatic health, 17 disease diagnostic centres and quality testing labs, 29 mobile centres and testing labs along with 5 aquatic referral labs have been established.

The scheme also gives adequate attention to ornamental fisheries and seaweed cultivation. Over 2100 ornamental fish-rearing units have been approved apart from covering over 46,000 rafts and more than 66,000 monoline tube nets to promote seaweed cultivation.

Further, the Kisan Credit Card scheme has been extended to the fisheries sector enhancing the small farmers’ access to institutional credit.

In alignment with its idea of inclusive development, the government has extensively promoted growth of fisheries sector in the Northeastern region. A total project cost of Rs. 1,391 crore has been approved, including construction of new ponds, integrated fish farming, re-circulatory aquaculture systems, and ornamental fisheries units.

To ensure that the benefits of PM Matsya Sampada Yojana reach every beneficiary, the government is set to launch a six-month long outreach initiative called Matsya Sampada Jagrukta Abhiyan. It shall cover 2.8 crore fish farmers and 3,477 coastal villages by February 2024.

Going ahead, PM Modi’s vision of Ports for Prosperity and Ports for Progress is revolutionising the shipping sector in the country. In this direction, the Sagarmala scheme lays ground for port-led development in the country with its focus on port modernisation and extended connectivity. Under Sagarmala, the government provides financial assistance to states for port infrastructure development, road and rail projects along with developing fish harbours, support to coastal communities, and building cruise terminals including Ro-Pax ferry services. This harnesses the vast coastline, potentially navigable inland waterways, and India’s strategic presence on key global maritime trade routes.

As a result, in the last nine years, the capacity of major ports in the country has doubled. Further, the turnaround time for big vessels today stands at less than 24 hours as against 42 hours in 2014. While the coastal cargo traffic has doubled in the past nine years of the Modi government, cargo handling of national waterways has grown by four times. Worthy of mention is India’s continuous improvement in the Logistics Performance Index. In addition, the government is conscious of the carbon footprint of such growth, hence there is dedicated effort to make the major ports carbon-neutral through a net-zero policy for the sector.

“India has a vast coastline, strong riverine ecosystem, and rich cultural heritage which create new possibilities for maritime tourism,” said PM Modi emphasising the potential that India holds in maritime tourism. Towards this, it is important to note that a National Maritime Heritage Complex is being established in Lothal—a nearly 5,000-year-old world heritage called the ‘cradle of shipping’. MV Ganga Vilas today is the world’s longest river cruise service. Going forward, an International Cruise terminal is coming up in Mumbai and modern cruise terminals are being developed in Vishakhapatnam and Chennai. In line with PM Modi’s vision, India is set to become a global cruise hub through its state-of-the-art infrastructure.

The Modi government is also establishing ship building and repair centres in multiple locations, giving a push to India’s march towards becoming one of the top five ship-building nations in the upcoming 10 years.

Decorating these efforts is the peerless Samudrayaan project under the Deep Ocean Mission. MATSYA 6000, a manned deep submersible vehicle, is intended to be utilised for deep sea exploration of rare sea minerals, polymetallic manganese nodule resources, and study deep-sea biodiversity. In addition, the government is committed to development of marine and coastal ecosystems through its initiatives like O-SMART and Integrated Coastal Zone Management, and development of offshore energy production.

Going beyond these domestic efforts, the Modi government has actively engaged in maritime diplomacy to promote the blue economy on the global stage. Through collaborations with neighboring countries and participation in international forums, India aims to foster cooperation for sustainable marine resource management. Such diplomatic initiatives not only enhance India's standing in the global community but also pave the way for shared benefits and mutual growth.

Under the leadership of PM Modi, India today is the third-largest fish-producing nation in the world, making up 8% of the global production.
However, the PM’s vision for the blue economy extends beyond immediate economic gains. By integrating environmental concerns, livelihood enhancement, and technological innovation, the government seeks to create a holistic model that sustains both nature and human prosperity, effectively meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.

In his address at the Global Maritime India Summit 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted that India is among the few countries with a combination of Development, Demography, Democracy, and Demand. He concluded, “At a time when India is moving towards the goal of becoming a developed India by 2047, this is a golden opportunity for you.”

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"Building Atmanirbhar Bharat Through Comprehensive Job Creation"
February 24, 2024

One of the most effective pathways of aspirational and practical self-actualization for citizens of a nation is employment generation at scale and expanse. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been cognizant of this need and has moved the needle comprehensively so that job creation today is happening across the spectrum: in the formal and informal sectors, through direct and indirect opportunities, in conventional and unconventional fields, and via self-employment and the opening up of multiple avenues for gigs, start-ups and novel entrepreneurship.

Government Initiatives
If on the one hand, Bharat is seeing the exponential growth in the number of start-ups and a conducive environment has made it one that has the largest number of unicorns, on the other hand a record number of Mudra loans sanctioned have fuelled unprecedented women-led growth, and the Agniveer scheme that aims to recruit youth into the Armed services has seen adoption in record numbers. According to a Harvard University research, India is among the top quartile of fastest-growing countries till 2029 and is undergoing a historic transition towards becoming a more formalized and technologically advanced, digitally evolved nation.

In the three years between 2017-18 and 2020-21, total employment increased by 8.4 crore which is a manifestation of several key factors such as demonetisation, rationalisation of taxes, the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), digital inclusivity and digitisation of financial transactions, inclusion of skill development and vocational training in the National Education Policy, increasing the number of Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), a fillip to the hitherto marginalized segments such as rural and tribal populace, and effective incentivization for a highly labour dominant unorganized sector. An example is how PM Street Vendor’s Atmanirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi), has benefitted more than 56 lakh rehri or street vendors from June 2020 to November 2023.

Immense positive impact can be seen in the nation’s formal employment sector. India is the 5th largest economy in the world with 1.12 crore net additional employment created between 2015 to 2018. This is a result of the confluence of progressive, pro-industry policy decisions, leveraging of advancements in technology, reforms to ease business investment, and a focus on skilling. An example of how this translates on the ground is that with the PM MUDRA Yojana More than 15 crore people have been employed in the MSME sector out of which 3.4 crore are women.

In the IT Industry alone, around 20 lakh people have been employed between 2013-14 and 2021-22. Indirectly, about 6.24 crore jobs were created between 2014 and 2019 in India’s digital economy. When it comes to a boost in employment generation across sectors, let’s take the example of tourism – a revamped and increasingly attractive tourism and hospitality industry led to 1.9 crore indirect jobs being created in the tourism sector between 2017 and 2020. The overhaul in the hospitality sector has led to the creation of many such jobs directly, and indirectly; India is among the most visited countries in the world and has been experiencing a growing influx of tourists. This has led to business incentivization and a boost to local artisans, transport providers, and hotels and restaurants within the larger hospitality service industry. In Air transport alone, for every Rs. 100/- invested in the sector, 610 indirect jobs are generated.

Infromal Sectors
The winds of change can also be seen in the disruptive as well as informal sectors. Providing security and stability to the unconventional health and wellness, since 2014, about 5.65 lakh practitioners have been provided employment under Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, and Homoeopathy (AYUSH). The introduction of several new reforms, an increase in FDI, which have further helped in improving the ‘ease of doing business’ along with low data costs, improvised processes and ready adoption have created a thriving new ecosystem for employment – the gig and platform economy. Gig-economy jobs grew year-on-year by 13% and over 29.20 crore people have registered so far on the E-Shram portal. From 2016 to May 2022, ‘Hunar Haat’ has created employment avenues for over 10.5 lakh artisans and talented Vishwakarmas.

The continuing chain of beneficiaries in the government’s Gati shakti model include processes that act as catalysts for indirect job creation in sectors such as transport, logistics, mobility, food, consumer goods and manufacturing products. Up to 2021-22, 53,696 km of roadways were created which generated 21.8 crore man-days of employment. As mentioned before, round 6 crore people employed in unorganized sector between 2017-18 and 2019-20 have benefited from the SVANidhi Yojana – making PM Modi’s vision of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas aur Sabka Prayas a quintessential facet of employment for all.

People-first policies such as the flagship program for equitable housing, the PM Awas has created 2.39 crore indirect jobs up to 2022. Another great example of the ripple effect of employment generation can be seen in the form of Production Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes which enable the expansion of existing industries into larger ones, while promoting the creation of new ones. As an example, 5 lakh incremental jobs have been created in the mobile manufacturing sector due to PLI. As per the Economic Survey 2023, PLI schemes are slated to create 60 lakh jobs. In addition, India’s fintech adoption rate of 87% as against the world average of 64% has enabled the creation of an ecosystem that is touching the lives and livelihoods of all – including the self-employed and small business owners.

To this end, Rozgar Melas that aim to provide 10 lakh jobs in less than two years, and that meld employment opportunities and unique talent have been a boon for the economy. Rozgar Mela is a key step towards the fulfilment of the commitment to accord the highest priority to employment generation in the country. On 12th February, 2024, PM Modi distributed more than 1 lakh appointment letters to newly inducted recruits and also lay the foundation stone of Phase I of the Integrated Complex “Karmayogi Bhavan” to promote collaboration and synergy amongst various pillars of Mission Karmayogi. “Rozgar Melas are playing a crucial role in enhancing the contribution of our Yuva Shakti in nation building”, said PM Modi. Rozgar Mela will be held at 47 locations across the country this year with recruitments taking place across central government departments and state governments/UTs supporting this initiative. These melas ascribe gainful opportunities to the youth, the Amrit Generation, and create pathways for their direct participation in national development. Similarly, under the Prime Ministers Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), over 43.77 lakh people have got employment and the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) has led to the placement of over 24.51 lakh candidates.

As policy making becomes efficient, so do its representative tools; more than 19.9 lakh people have been placed in jobs through employment exchanges between 2017-2022. The government has incessantly been taking many measures to tackle unemployment issues and stem the unemployment rate. The Amrit generation is benefitting from a multi-pronged approach; if on the one hand, Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI), has benefitted around 2.94 lakh from 2014-15 to December 2022, on the other hand, over 1.80 lakh new job-creators and entrepreneurs are now operating under the Stand-Up India scheme.

New India – Naya Bharat – is one that thrives on a developed mindset with the aim of making the country Atmanirbhar, and a Vishwa Mitra – one the world leans on. As an example of this commitment, in the current financial year, Khadi has achieved a historic milestone by generating over 9.54 lakh new jobs. Be it our push towards renewable energy, creating a decarbonized energy sector which ranks India is 4th globally or the reduction of unemployment rate in rural areas, (decreased from 5.3% in 2017-18 to 2.4% in 2022-23) the commitment of PM Modi’s government to decisively mitigate unemployment stays foremost.

A spurt in the employment index is predicated on employment mobility to higher productivity jobs, rising job rates in secondary and tertiary sectors, promotion of women as economic catalysts and the increased formalisation of the unorganized, informal sector. PM Modi’s government has consistently come good on all the parameters which is the reason why milestone, upon milestone, Bharat’s journey towards becoming Atmanirbhar and the world’s third largest economy, is only a matter of time.