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Draft Blue Economy Policy

  • 18 Feb 2021
  • 6 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has rolled out the draft Blue Economy policy, inviting suggestions and inputs from various stakeholders.

  • It is in line with the Government of India’s Vision of New India by 2030.

Key Points

  • About:
    • The policy document highlighted the blue economy as one of the ten core dimensions for national growth.
    • It emphasizes policies across several key sectors to achieve holistic growth of India’s economy. It recognizes the following seven thematic areas:
      • 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.
  • Aims:
    • Enhance contribution of the blue economy to India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
      • The blue economy, which consists of economic activities dependent on marine resources, comprises 4.1% of India’s economy.
    • Improve lives of coastal communities.
    • Preserve marine biodiversity.
    • Maintain the national security of marine areas and resources.
  • Reason and Need for a Blue Economy Policy:
    • Vast Coastline:
      • With a coastline of nearly 7.5 thousand kilometers, India has a unique maritime position.
      • Nine of its 28 states are coastal, and the nation’s geography includes 1,382 islands.
      • There are nearly 199 ports, including 12 major ports that handle approximately 1,400 million tons of cargo each year.
    • Utilisation of Non-living Resources:
      • India’s Exclusive Economic Zone of over 2 million square kilometers has a huge living and non-living resources with significant recoverable resources such as crude oil and natural gas.
    • Sustenance of Coastal Communities:
      • The coastal economy sustains over 4 million fisherfolk and coastal communities.
  • Other Related Initiatives by India:
    • India-Norway Task Force on Blue Economy for Sustainable Development :
      • It was inaugurated jointly by both the countries in 2020 to develop and follow up joint initiatives between the two countries.
    • Sagarmala Project:
      • The Sagarmala project is the strategic initiative for port-led development through the extensive use of IT enabled services for modernization of ports.
      • It aims at developing Inland waterways and coastal shipping which will revolutionize maritime logistics, creating million new jobs, reducing logistics costs etc.
      • It focuses on the development of coastal communities and people in the sustainable use of ocean resources, modern fishing techniques and coastal tourism.
    • O-SMART:
      • India has an umbrella scheme by the name of O-SMART which aims at regulated use of oceans, marine resources for sustainable development.
    • Integrated Coastal Zone Management:
      • It focuses on conservation of coastal and marine resources, and improving livelihood opportunities for coastal communities etc.
    • National Fisheries Policy :
      • India has a National Fisheries policy for promoting 'Blue Growth Initiative' which focus on sustainable utilization of fisheries wealth from the marine and other aquatic resources
  • Global Steps:

Blue Economy

  • The concept was introduced by Gunter Pauli in his 2010 book- “The Blue Economy: 10 years, 100 innovations, 100 million jobs”.
  • It is the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health.
  • It advocates the greening of ocean development strategies for higher productivity and conservation of ocean's health.
  • It encompasses–
    • Renewable Energy: Sustainable marine energy can play a vital role in social and economic development.
    • Fisheries: Sustainable fisheries can generate more revenue, more fish and help restore fish stocks.
    • Maritime Transport: Over 80% of international goods traded are transported by sea.
    • Tourism: Ocean and coastal tourism can bring jobs and economic growth.
    • Climate Change: Oceans are an important carbon sink (blue carbon) and help mitigate climate change.
    • Waste Management: Better waste management on land can help oceans recover.
  • Blue Economy emphasizes on integration of development of the ocean economy with social inclusion, environmental sustainability, combined with innovative business models.

Way Forward

  • With its vast maritime interests, the blue economy occupies a vital potential position in India’s economic growth.
  • It could well be the next multiplier of GDP and well-being, provided sustainability and socio-economic welfare are kept center-stage.
  • Therefore, India's draft blue economy policy is envisaged as a crucial framework towards unlocking the country's potential for economic growth and welfare.

Source: PIB

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