Blue Economy: Sixth dimension of GOI’s Vision of New India by 2030

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    • Union Minister of State Science & Technology said that the Government of India’s Vision of New India by 2030 enunciated in 2019 highlighted the Blue Economy as the sixth dimension of its vision.

    About

    • R.K. Dhowan and Viswapati Trivedi committee: In 2018, Niti Aayog had set up a committee under R.K. Dhowan and Viswapati Trivedi to draft a National Maritime Policy.
    • The Economic Advisory Council to the PM also came up with a draft policy framework document on Blue Economy in 2020.

    What is the Blue Economy?

    • Blue economy broadly refers to the use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs in a sustainable manner.
      • It is a nouveau term for business conducted in the oceans, the global commons, for centuries.
    • Sectors included: This includes different sectors such as fisheries, tourism, offshore oil and gas and infrastructure among others.
    • GDP: India’s blue economy is estimated to be around four per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
    • The following seven thematic areas or pillars are identified:
      • National accounting framework for the blue economy and ocean governance.
      • Coastal Marine Spatial Planning and Tourism.
      • Marine fisheries, aquaculture, and fish processing.
      • Manufacturing, Emerging industries, trade, technology, services, and skill development.
      • Logistics, infrastructure and shipping, including trans-shipments.
      • Coastal and deep-sea mining and offshore energy.
      • Security, strategic dimensions, and international engagement

    Issues

    • No single agency: Lack of a single national agency for coordination and integration of maritime activities which comes under various sectors, such as ocean and coastal economy, energy, infrastructure, environment, shipping, law, culture, tourism among others.
    • Providing Coastal Structures to safeguard it: For the improvement of economic development, and to avoid dangers from natural hazards such as tsunami and earthquake, and sea level rise from global warming, human settlements near the coastal areas are provided with coastal structures such as seawalls, revetment, groyne, breakwater, piers, jetties and trestles, bridges and elevated roads, and marine outfalls and pipelines.
    • Overfishing/unsustainable fishing practices could lead to depletion of resources thereby removing livelihood opportunities for communities of such specific sites.
    • Other challenges include pollution, loss of habitat and biodiversity, pirates, crime and climate change- apart from the broad geo-political issues.
    • India is the 13th most vulnerable country to climate change: Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts of Karnataka have reported 28 per cent of their coasts eroded due to sea level rise.
      • In another instance, Andhra Pradesh coastal areas have seen reduction of fish catch.
      • Additional sea level rise of 1 meter, which is a likely impact of climate change, would displace 7.1 million people in India.
    • Sewage pollution continues to be a major issue for India, especially in coastal areas, generating 4067 million liters of domestic sewage a day.
    • The issues pertaining to fishermen in the international water lines especially with our neighboring countries are also acting as a dis-incentive towards the fishing sector.

    Significance

    • India is looking to leverage the blue economy to a $10 trillion estimate in the next decade and it will power the growth cycle of India like never before.
    • Vast coastline of India and its predominant maritime geography places all blue economy initiatives as the best platform for engaging the Indian Ocean Region littorals for cumulative growth.
    • Economic and Trade Potential: The Indian Ocean Region is abundant with resources, particularly in the sectors of fisheries, aquaculture, ocean energy, sea-bed mining and minerals, and provides tremendous economic opportunities to develop marine tourism and shipping activities.
    • Polymetallic nodules and polymetallic massive sulfides are the two mineral resources of commercial interest to developers in the Indian Ocean.
      • Typically found at four to five km in water depth, polymetallic nodules are golf-to-tennis ball-sized nodules containing nickel, cobalt, iron, and manganese that form over millions of years on the sediment of the seafloor.
    • The Sagarmala project launched by the Ministry of Shipping, is the strategic initiative for port-led development through the extensive use of IT enabled services for modernisation of ports.
      • It tackles the issue of underutilized ports by focussing on port modernization, efficient evacuation, and coastal economic development.
    • International Relations and Security: The Indian Ocean has always enjoyed a place of prominence in global strategy. Many nations have established a presence in the region to ensure their strategic interests.
      • With the re-emergence of piracy issues and growing importance to secure the oceanic ecosystem, India has been pro-actively involved in cooperative arrangements with like-minded neighboring countries.

    Way Forward

    • Governance network: There is a need for a cohesive maritime governance network for better coordination among different stakeholders.
    • In this era of advanced technology, oceans will become new centers of economic activity.
      • Oceans already account for significant trade and commerce in the fields of shipping, offshore oil and gas, fishing, undersea cables, and tourism.
    • There are other emerging industries such as aquaculture, marine biotechnology, ocean energy and sea-bed mining that have the potential to create jobs and spur worldwide economic growth.
    • Domestic mega-modernisation projects: India’s commitment to strengthen its cooperation with the regional partners and build a sustainable ocean economy aligns well with its domestic mega-modernisation projects that will enable the nation to harness the full potential of the Ocean based Blue Economy.

    Source: PIB