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India's Blue Economy Policy



India is a country surrounded by water on three sides stretching across the boundaries. And it won’t be wrong to say that it is surely one of the blessed countries to have vast ocean territories and abundant resources. But had these resources been harnessed to their full extent, jillions of jobs would have been initiated by now and the GDP of our country would have taken a flight. Well, late is better than never, because eventually the Government is drafting a new policy known as “Blue Economy Policy” with an aim to make use of the resources tactically.

The Blue Economy Policy draft was recently rolled out which focused on seven confined areas such as, ocean governance and national accounting framework for the blue economy, coastal marine spatial planning and tourism, skill development, logistics and shipping including trans-shipments, international engagement, etc.

The global ocean economy is valued at around 1.5 trillion annually. More than 80% of global trade is transported through the sea. The blue economy i.e., ocean-related economic activities comprises about 4.1% of India’s economy. This policy will affect the GDP by touching the greener areas of the system like extraction of hydro energy, minerals from the deep sea, etc.

The Working Committee suggested enhancement of sustainable marine fishing, mariculture production, ocean health, marine biotechnology and bioprospecting through the establishment of various institutions, legal reforms, policy-making, technology and promotion of R&D. The policy has already invited criticism by Kerala’s fishing community who claim that the policy favours the big capital-intensive enterprises.

The Committee suggested the establishment of an apex body named - National Blue Economy Council for ocean governance which will ensure coordination among multiple stakeholders and authorities. In order to boost the shipping and shipbuilding sector, the committee recommended the formulation of a 30-year holistic shipbuilding plan. They proposed prioritization of technology for exploration and deep-sea mining and stressed on the Coastal Marine Spatial Planning.

The policy is related to Goal 14 of Sustainable Development. It is a new development perspective whose gist is to develop a marine economy while protecting and conserving its ecosystem and achieving sustainable utilization of resources.

It would be noteworthy to see the impact of such projects on the biodiversity, environment, tourism and trade, and lives of traditional fishing communities living along the seaboard. With strategy having socio-economic welfare and sustainability at focus, the “Blue Economy Policy would be a crucial step towards unlocking the potential of economic growth and welfare.”


BY:

Vertika & Jasnoor

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