Budgetary provisions :
Recognizing the potential of fisheries, the Indian government has been constantly increasing its focus on this sector. In line with this, the finance minister has allocated an amount of Rs 1220.84 crore in FY 21-22 for the fisheries department. It is the highest ever annual budgetary support for the Department, 34% increase over the previous budget.
The Finance Minister also announced a substantial investment to develop modern fishing harbors. To start with, 5 major fishing harbors – Kochi, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Paradip, and Petuaghat – will be developed as hubs of economic activity. These centers will be upgraded and modernized with state-of-the-art infrastructure and amenities. Substantial investment to be made in the end-to-end supply chain, seamless cold chain, and hygienic handling. It will enhance the quality of fish and export competitiveness.
Further, there is also a plan of developing inland fishing harbors along the banks of rivers and waterways. This is a welcome announcement as fishing harbors are central to the growth of the Blue Economy. They are also closely linked to the social-economic development of fishermen and coastal communities.
Beyond fisheries :
Finance Minister has further announced to set up a multipurpose seaweed Park in Tamil Nadu with an investment of Rs 100 crore. It provides enormous scope for developing indigenous seaweed-based industries like value-added products, nutraceuticals, biofuels, bioplastics, etc.
Moreover, this has the potential to provide livelihood to at least 1.5 crore people. Coastal fisherwomen have been engaged in seaweed collection for the past few decades. Growing focus on this segment will be beneficial to them.