Livelihoods: The fisheries sector in India provides livelihood to more than 2.8 crore people in the country. However, according to the Economic Survey of India 2019-20, only 58 percent of the country’s inland potential has been tapped so far.
In 2019-20, with an overall production of 142 lakh tons, India produced eight percent of the global share. During the same time period, India’s fisheries exports stood at INR 46,662 crore, constituting about 18 percent of India’s agricultural exports. Despite challenges, the fisheries sector has continued to register an annual growth rate of more than 10 percent.
Signaling the importance of the sector to the country’s economy, the government increased the budget for fisheries by 34 percent in this year’s Union Budget. It also launched the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) with an investment of over INR 20,000 crore for five years towards the sector’s development. It envisions leveraging an investment of more than INR 50,000 crore in the next five years for the sector, and expects these funds to come from states, beneficiaries, and financial institutions.
The government also made three key announcements:
- The development of five major fishing harbours in Kochi, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Paradip, and Petuaghat. This includes building world-class infrastructure and amenities that will also help reduce post-harvest losses. Modernised harbours are expected to increase the country’s export potential by 10-15 percent and help create around 50,000 direct and indirect jobs.
- The development of inland fishing harbours and fish landing centres. The first-ever government support for such an activity, this is expected to benefit traditional inland fishermen dependent on fishing in the Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers for their livelihood.
- The establishment of a unique multipurpose seaweed park in Tamil Nadu, which will become a production centre for quality seaweed-based products, and provide scope for engaging women from villages.
Read this article to know more about how COVID-19 has affected the fisheries sector in India.