Draft Policy Document on Blue Economy

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    In Context

    • The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is finalising a National Policy on the blue economy for the country.

    More about the news

    • About:
      • A draft policy framework on India’s Blue Economy had been prepared. 
      • The policy envisages the optimal utilisation of all sectors of the maritime domain, from living and non-living resources to tourism and ocean energy for the sustainable development of coastal areas.
    • The document contains key recommendations on the following dimensions:
      • A national accounting framework for the blue economy and ocean governance
      • Coastal marine spatial planning and tourism priority; 
      • Marine fisheries, aquaculture, and fish processing
      • Manufacturing, emerging industries, trade, technology, services, skill development; 
      • Logistics, infrastructure, and shipping
      • Coastal and deep-sea mining and offshore energy; and 
      • Security, strategic dimensions, and international engagement.
    • A National Blue Economy Advisory Council has been proposed to be set up. 
      • It will have the secretaries of relevant ministries and departments as members and include chief secretaries/principal secretaries of the coastal states and representatives from industry.

    What is Blue Economy?

    • According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the:
      • “Sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem.” 
    • European Commission defines it as:
      •  “All economic activities related to oceans, seas and coasts.

    Significance of India’s Blue Economy

    • India’s blue economy:
      • It is a subset of the national economy comprising the entire ocean resources system and human-made economic infrastructure in marine, maritime, and onshore coastal zones within the country’s legal jurisdiction. 
    • Coastal states and islands:
      • With some 7,500 kilometres, India has a unique maritime position. Nine of its 29 states are coastal, and it’s geography includes 1,382 islands. 
    • Ports and Exclusive Economic Zone:
      • There are nearly 199 ports, including 12 major ports that handle approximately 1,400 million tons of cargo each year
      • Besides, India’s Exclusive Economic Zone of over 2 million square kilometres has a bounty of living and non-living resources with significant recoverable resources such as crude oil and natural gas. 
    • Coastal settlements:
      • The coastal economy sustains over 4 million fisherfolk and coastal communities.

    Initiatives Taken by the Indian Government

    • Sagarmala Project: 
      • Vision of the Sagarmala Programme is to reduce logistics cost for export-import and domestic trade with minimal infrastructure investment.
    • Coastal Economic Zones: 
      • The government identifies CEZs in the National Perspective Plan for Sagarmala Programme.
      • CEZs aims to promote exports by providing infrastructure and facilities to entrepreneurs to set up businesses and industries near Ports.
    • Indian Ocean Rim Association: 
      • India has been taking active participation in the IORA for promotion of blue economy in Indian Ocean littoral states.
    • Matsaya Sampada Yojana: 
      • It is a flagship scheme for focused and sustainable development of the fisheries sector in the country.
      • It will bring about the Blue Revolution by harnessing fisheries’ potential in a sustainable, responsible, inclusive and equitable manner.
    • Polymetallic Nodules: 
      • India has received the sanction from International Seabed Authority for deep-sea mining in the Central Indian Ocean.

    Way ahead

    • The blue economy occupies a vital potential position in India’s economic growth. 
    • Countries like Australia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia, and Norway have developed dedicated national ocean policies with measurable outcomes and budgetary provisions
    • With a draft blue economy policy framework of its own, India is now all set to harness the vast potential of its ocean resources.
      • It could well be the next force multiplier of GDP and well-being, provided sustainability and socio-economic welfare are centered.

    Swachh Sagar, Surakshit Sagar

    • It is a 75 days-long coastal clean-up campaign for cleaning at least 75 beaches along the Indian coast.
    • It started July 5, 2022, and will culminate on September 17, 2022, on ‘International Coastal Clean Up Day’. 
    • The activity is being organised by MoES jointly with the Indian Coast Guard, MoEF&CC, MoYAS, NDMA, Paryavaran Sanrakshan Gatividhi, other government departments, voluntary organisations, the public and students.
    • The steps/initiatives would include support for awareness campaigns, competitions, and workshops/seminars on the issues through Earth Day, Ocean Day, and other such occasions in schools, colleges and universities.

    Eco Mitram

    • A mobile app “Eco Mitram” has been launched to spread awareness about the campaign and also for the common people for voluntary registration for the beach cleaning activity on the 17th September 2022.

     

    Source: TH