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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PM Modi’s Vision Fuels Delhi’s Development
April 12, 2024

“Delhi has the good fortune to get an opportunity of keeping the flag of nations' prestige flying high.”
- PM Narendra Modi as Delhi prepared to host the G20 Summit

The last ten years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government have set in motion the creation of a New India—from rural to urban, from water to electricity, from houses to health, from education to employment, from castes to classes—a comprehensive plan bringing growth and prosperity to each doorstep.

The National Capital Territory of Delhi has emerged as a pivotal part of this dynamic developmental momentum spearheaded by PM Modi throughout this transformative decade.

The city has been at the heart of the infrastructural shift that has given a dedicated facelift to the entire nation. Today infrastructural marvels like Atal Setu, Chenab Bridge, Statue of Unity, and Zojila Tunnel dot India’s ever-evolving landscape.

With its focus on revamping transportation networks, upgrading urban amenities, and expanding digital infrastructure, the Modi government has launched an array of transformative initiatives. From railways, highways to airports, these initiatives have been key in galvanising inclusive and sustainable development across the length and breadth of the country.

The impressive expansion of the metro rail network has revolutionised urban commuting in India. From a mere 5 cities in 2014, the metro rail network now serves 21 cities across the nation—expanding from 248 km in 2014 to 945 km by 2024, with 919 km of lines under construction in 26 additional cities.

The Union Cabinet has recently approved two new corridors of Delhi Metro Phase-IV—Lajpat Nagar to Saket G-Block and Inderlok to Indraprastha. Both the lines have a combined length of over 20 kms with a project cost of over Rs. 8,000 crore (funding being sourced from the Union Govt, Govt of Delhi, and international agencies). The Inderlok- Indraprastha line will play a significant role in enhancing connectivity to the Bahadurgarh region of Haryana. Additionally, India’s first Namo Bharat train, operating on the Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) corridor further underlines the Modi government’s commitment to enhancing regional connectivity and upgrading its transportation infrastructure.

Further, the Bharatmala Pariyojana envisages improved logistics efficiency and connectivity via the development of nearly 35,000 km of National Highway corridors. 25 greenfield high-speed corridors have been planned under the plan out of which four intersect with Delhi’s growing infra capacity: Delhi-Mumbai Expressway, Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway, Delhi-Saharanpur-Dehradun Expressway, and the Urban Extension Road-II. The total project length sanctioned for Delhi is 203 km with an allocation of over Rs. 18,000 crore.

Over the past decade, the Modi government has consistently dedicated efforts towards augmenting capacity and decongestion of airports. After the IGI Airport Delhi became the first airport in the country to have four runways and an elevated taxiway, the expanded state-of-the-art Terminal 1 has also been inaugurated recently. In addition, the upcoming Noida International Airport (Jewar) shall further contribute to decongestion of the Delhi airport which is serving millions of passengers annually.

Besides, the inauguration of the New Parliament has further added civilisational yet modern connotations to the city’s landscape. Inauguration of the Yashobhoomi (India International Convention & Expo Centre) has given Delhi India’s largest convention and exhibition centre, offering a mixed purpose tourism experience. Along with Yashobhoomi, the Bharat Mandapam, a world-class convention and exhibition centre, showcases India to the world.

In terms of welfare, the Modi government has launched several schemes benefitting people hitherto on the margins of growth and development. Women’s safety in Delhi has been a key concern. To address the same, the Modi government strengthened the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 by increasing the quantum of punishment for rape, including capital punishment for rape of a girlchild below the age of 12.

The Union Home Ministry established a separate Women Safety Division back in 2018. One-stop centers, Sakhi Niwas, Safe City Project, Nirbhaya Fund, SHe-Box, Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences, and Cri-MAC (Crime Multi-Agency Center) among others are significant additions in the government’s campaign towards women safety.

In addition, Swachh Bharat Mission, PM Ujjwala Yojana, PM Matru Vandana Yojana, and Beti Bachao Beti Padhao have further led to the empowerment of Nari Shakti in India.

As India becomes the 3rd largest startup ecosystem in the world, Delhi is also contributing significantly towards this development. Today over 13,000 DPIIT-recognised startups are functioning in Delhi even as the government is promoting self-employment through PM MUDRA Yojana with over 2.3 lakh loans sanctioned worth over Rs. 3,000 crore for FY2023-24 (as on 26.01.2024).

PM SVANidhi, which provides collateral free loans to street vendors, is supporting over 1.67 lakh beneficiaries in Delhi. Further, under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana, launched in 2020 to incentivise employers for creation of new employment and restoration of loss of employment during Covid-19 pandemic, over 2.2 lakh employees benefitted in Delhi.

Further, nearly 30,000 houses have been sanctioned and completed in Delhi under PM Awas Yojana (Urban).

Air pollution has been a recurring problem for the people of Delhi. Conscious of this reality, the central government has launched the National Clean Air Programme as a national level strategy to reduce air pollution level across the country.

The Modi government's tenure over the last decade has brought about a remarkable transformation in Delhi across various fronts. From infrastructure development to governance reforms, from education to employment, the government's initiatives have left an indelible mark on the capital city. As Delhi continues on its journey of progress and development, the contributions of the Modi government are set to shape its future trajectory for years to come.