India expects the fisheries sector to attract investments worth $ 9 billion (Rs 67,000 crore) over the next five years along with huge employment generation. Fisheries exports are expected to more than double to Rs 100,000 crore by 2024-25 from Rs 46,589 crore at present, Union Fisheries Secretary Rajeev Ranjan said at an e-conference of Indian Chamber of Commerce.
“Government is targeting investments to the tune of USD 9 billion in the fisheries sector over the next five years,” Ranjan said. He said the PM Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) has been designed to achieve this target and the Centre is striving to raise fish production to 220 lakh tonnes by 2024-25 from current 138 lakh tonnes, a press release from the ministry said.
“This will also have significant repercussion on employment generation from the sector, which is expected to be around 55 lakh by 2024-25 from close to 15 lakh at present,” Ranjan said.
The central government has also envisaged to improve the quality of life in coastal communities and diversification of the coastal economy through sustainable livelihood opportunities and inclusive development in an integrated manner. A sum of Rs 750 crore has been allocated toward the same. “One of the major objectives of PMMSY is to double marine products export to $ 15 billion by 2024,” Ranjan added.
India’s fisheries sector is a direct source of livelihoods for more than 20 million fishermen and fish farmers. It contributes Rs 1.75 trillion annually to the gross value added to India’s economy; and is a major export earner, with fish being one of the most important agricultural commodities to be exported from India.
COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown has left India’s fisheries in the lurch. However, India is not alone. Severe economic losses to fisheries have been reported across the world, and in all cases, the damage has been greatest for export-driven fisheries with complex supply chains.
The virus may have been the trigger, but India’s barrel was already loaded with decades of well-intentioned but ill-fated policies, unregulated growth, and market instabilities. Securing the future of India’s fisheries both during COVID-19 and beyond, requires a deep dive into understanding their past, present, and possible future.