FM announced investments for the development of modern fishing harbours and fish landing centres
Fisheries has been recognized as a ‘Sunrise Sector’ and has demonstrated an outstanding double-digit average annual growth of 10.87%since 2014-15. The sector has reached record fish production of 142 lakh tons in FY 2019-20 and has immense potential for growth. Moreover, it has been instrumental in sustaining the livelihoods of over 28 million people in India especially for marginalized and vulnerable communities and has contributed towards engendering meaningful socio-economic development.
Cognizant of the sector’s crucial role in nation building, the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying has committed itself to the vision of ambitiously expanding the sector and accelerating its growth. Budget Press Conference addressed by Secretary of Fisheries
And AHD today.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech FY 2021-22 has allocated an amount of Rs. 1220.84 crores for the Department of Fisheries, which is the highest ever annual budgetary support for the Department. This marks a 34% increase over the budget of FY 2020-21. Further, this includes an allocation of Rs. 1000 crores for the flagship scheme of the Department, Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) scheme for FY 2021-21, enhanced by 43% from FY 2020-21.
Finance Minister has announced substantial investments for the development of modern fishing harbours and fish landing centres. To start with, 5 major fishing harbours – Kochi, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Paradip, and Petuaghat – will be developed as hubs of economic activity. Further, inland fishing harbours and fish-landing centres will also be developed along the banks of rivers and waterways. This is a welcome announcement as fishing harbours and fish landing centres are central to the growth of the Blue Economy and fisheries trade and are closely linked to socio-economic development of fishers and coastal communities.
The 5 fishing harbours and landing centres will be upgraded and modernized with state-of-the-art infrastructure and amenities, end to end linkages, seamless cold chain and hygienic handling for enhancing quality of fish and export competitiveness to benefit over 40000 fishers. Technologically advanced deep-sea fishing vessels with modern supporting facilities will also be rolled out for optimally harnessing the potential of EEZ and High Seas, thereby doubling incomes of fishermen and other stakeholders. This will also facilitate collectivization and registration of fishermen, fish workers and fish vendors associated with the fishing harbours and landing centres into Fish Farmer Producer Organisations (FFPOs).
Finance Minister in her announcement has also laid emphasis on the development of Inland Fisheries and for the first time in the history of the Fisheries sector, riverine harbours and fish landing centres will be constructed along the banks of rivers and waterways. The riverine fishing harbours and landing centres besides providing the aforementioned benefits, will also provide the required thrust towards the organization of the inland fisheries sector which has hitherto been unorganized.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman further announced that Seaweed farming is an emerging sector with potential to transform the lives of coastal communities and can provide large scale employment and additional incomes. To promote seaweed cultivation, Multipurpose Seaweed Park will bee stablished in Tamil Nadu. India with a 2.2 million sq. km EEZ area and 0.53 sq km continental shelf has enormous scope for seaweed cultivation and development of indigenous seaweed-based industries comprising of value-added products, nutraceuticals, biofuels, bioplastics, etc. which can substantially contribute to the global markets.
Moreover, seaweed farming has the potential to provide alternative livelihood to at least 1.5 crore people, especially coastal fisherwomen who have been engaged in natural seaweed collection for past few decades. The announcement made by Honourable Finance Minister will further accelerate the growth of seaweed cultivation and enhance the incomes of the coastal communities. The Seaweed park in Tamil Nadu , with an investment of Rs. 100 crores, will be developed as a hub to serve as a One Stop Park for the entire seaweed value chain linking all the activities from pre- and post-harvest infrastructure, logistics, marketing, export promotion, innovation, technology incubation and knowledge dissemination for arriving at optimum outputs and thereby maximizing value addition, minimizing wastage and increasing the income of all stakeholders.
Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman also announced that agricultural credit target will be enhanced to Rs 16.5 lakh crores in FY2021-22to provide adequate credit to our farmers, which will focus on ensuring increased credit flows to animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries. This will be an impetus to earlier efforts of enhancing credit flow to fishers and fish farmers such as concessional finance under FIDF and extension of Kisan Credit Card (KCC) facility to fisheries and livestock. Not only will this catalyse the growth of the sector, it will ensure availability of working capital for small and marginal fish workers and small fisheries sector enterprises that have been impacted by erosion of working capital due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will boost entrepreneurship in the sector, providing opportunities to the migrant workers to get jobs and livelihood support by means of adopting fisheries activities as occupations, thereby deepening financial inclusion.
Finance Minister’s announcements are directed towards impacting communities and catalysing the growth of the sector in a responsible, sustainable and equitable manner.