National Fisheries Policy to improve income of fishermen: Giriraj Singh

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Fish displayed at a supermarket in the Thai capital of Bangkok. Photo/IAC

The proposed New National Fisheries Policy will focus on bringing new technology and ways to deal with the threat from cyclones as part of the overall objective to improve the income of fishermen,  informed Union Fisheries Minister Giriraj Singh in the Rajya Sabha.

The proposed policy will incorporate the provisions of the existing National Policy on Marine Fisheries 2017. It will have provisions for sub-sectors of inland fisheries, aquaculture & mariculture, including elements of post-harvest.

Singh said, “Given the cross-cutting nature of various fisheries sub-sectors, it is considered that an integrated National Fisheries Policy would better serve the public interest rather than individual sub-sector wise policies”.

The minister said fund allocation to boost the sector will depend on sectoral needs as well as priorities. He said the government had allocated Rs.560 crore for the continuation of the Blue Revolution scheme in 2020-21 fiscal for undertaking various ongoing fisheries development programs.

The government had created the Fisheries & Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF) during 2018-19 with a fund size of Rs. 7,522.48 crore spread over a period of five years. The fund provides finance at concessional rates to States and its entities, including the private sector, for development of fisheries infrastructure facilities in marine & inland fisheries sectors.

Government plans to formulate a National Fisheries Policy for holistic development of the sector, which is growing at an annual rate of 8 per cent, The Government will take care of the interests of traditional fishermen while framing the policy, said Singh, who also holds Animal Husbandry and Dairying portfolios, while replying to supplementary questions during Question Hour.

In the Union Budget for 2019-20, it announced a new scheme called Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) for the sector. The ministry has formulated PMSSY scheme which envisages a total investment of about ₹20,050 crore, which includes Central, States and beneficiary shares over a period of five years with effect from 2020-21.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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