FICCI-KAS Report Suggests Forming a ‘Ministry of Blue Economy’
| Onkareshwar Pandey - Editor in Chief & CEO, IOP - 20 Jan 2020

Prime Minister has the vision of making India a $5 trillion economy by 2024. The government for the first time created a separate Ministry for fisheries. This is the first step in creating the Ministry for Blue Economy; I think sooner or later it will come into effect, said Muraleedharan, MoS, External Affairs, and Parliamentary Affairs.

By Onkareshwar Pandey

New Delhi, January 19, 2020: The second report on Blue Economy: Global Best Practices Takeaways for India and Partner Nations, has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi led NDA government to design and establish an effective institutional mechanism for coordination and leadership, covering all relevant authorities and stakeholders and form a full-fledged Ministry of Blue Economy in order to implement the desired strategy.

The report jointly prepared by FICCI with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) has recommended adopting three critical ingredients for the Blue Economy strategy of India: Economic growth balanced by sustainable development; A Public-Private Partnership (PPP) encompassing governments at the Centre and state levels as well as  Business and Industry and Civil Society; and,   Essentially a multi-disciplinary approach covering all relevant stakeholders.

Prepared by a Core Group, under the FICCI Task Force on Blue Economy, the report suggests the government to Create a new Blue Economy Policy Unit for external dialogue and cooperation projects and consider locating it in the Ministry of External Affairs and launch a new 'India Blue Economy Forum' comprising representatives of Government, Business and private sector experts, for sustained dialogue and follow-up, and also developing a national Blue Economy accounting system to obtain a holistic understanding and value of various sectors to provide robust policy prescriptions.

Mr V Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs, Govt of India, has acknowledged that a Ministry of Blue Economy is inevitable going by the importance it has for economic growth.

Speaking at the launch of the report Blue Economy – Global Best Practices: Takeaways for India and Partner Nations’, on January 17, 2020, Mr Muraleedharan said, “Prime Minister has the vision of making India a $5 trillion economy by 2024. Responsible development of Blue Economy forms a cornerstone to the realisation of the vision for New India. The government for the first time created a separate Ministry for fisheries. This is the first step in creating the Ministry for Blue Economy; I think sooner or later it will come into effect.”

He further said that this needs to be backed by the goal of achieving an all-inclusive and sustainable development, which is possible through fostering and developing blue growth in the country.

Mr Muraleedharan added that Blue Economy is one of the most important areas of cooperation where countries of South Asia, Pacific Island Developing and the West, have developed national strategies and maritime agendas to develop Blue Economy. We need to learn from global best practices to harness the resources for economic and social development in a sustainable manner, he said.

Mr Muraleedharan highlighting the importance of Blue Economy said India and the international community need to leverage the benefits of the blue economy in an efficient way. “The success will lie in connecting the dots for economic prosperity while preserving common ocean wealth and heritage for future generations,” he said.

Amb Rajiv Bhatia, Chair, FICCI Core Group on Blue Economy, said, “Informed and purposeful pro-activism is needed to assist our coastal states with best global practices in technology, management and investments. FICCI has the role to be the bridge builder between sources of foreign technology and those who need in the Indian coastal areas.  

Amb Anup K. Mudgal, a member of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) retired in May, 2016 as India's High Commissioner to Mauritius and Member, FICCI Task Force on Blue Economy & Member, Steering Committee on Blue Economy under PMEAC while talking about FICCI-KAS report on ‘Blue Economy – Global Best Practices’ said, “This study seeks to achieve three key objectives: First, it presents a comprehensive review and evaluation of the Blue Economy initiatives and best practices at the government and corporate levels from various regions of the world. Second, it presents a snapshot of national best practices and successful case studies from different states of coastal India. Third, it analyses the existing gaps in India's Blue Economy model, suggesting how they can be bridged in the pursuit of nation's interests, and where precisely purposeful policy advocacy should be focused in the future.”

Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, Niti Aayog, said in his message published in the report: “With the massive coastline of 7,500 kilometers, Blue Economy has the potential to serve as growth driver for the India Economy.”

Mr. Sandip Somany, President FICCI, has said - “Blue Economy is a new paradigm in the development discourse, which accords equal weightage to economic growth and environmental sustainability. For India, Blue Economy assumes high priority. This has been expressed through the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for 'Security and Growth for All in the Region' (SAGAR) and a comparison of the Blue Chakra of India's National Flag as representative of the potential of India's Blue Economy.”

Dr Jyotsna Suri, Past President, FICCI, said, “Oceans are the next frontier of global growth. The benefit of Blue Economy to India is immense as India has a coastline of over 7500 kms. With this huge coastline, the sky is the limit.”

Policymakers, civil society and scientists have been extensively engaged with the evolving Blue Economy dialogue for many years now. Ironically, the business community, which would eventually implement these measures, has not been fully involved. It is in this context that FICCI took a pioneering initiative to set up a Task Force to carry the message and merits of the blue growth directly to the business community for better appreciation of this challenge, and for devising win-win solutions.

Highlights of the report:

The report presents a set of recommendations pertaining to strategic, institutional and sectoral aspects as well as industry engagement.

Here are the key highlights on sectoral aspects:

  • Undertake focused studies on the sub-sectors of the Blue Economy such as marine leisure industry, the role of Industry 4.0 technologies, smart river management, marine biotechnology, offshore renewable energy, and fisheries-related sectors
  • Engage IITs and other institutions to encourage innovation to support the Blue Economy
  • Explore and popularize the concept of Green and Blue Bonds
  • Create Blue Economy Atlas as a valuable business tool for all coastal states and island territories of India
  • While commercial deep-sea mining may not take place in the near future, preparations for legal and contractual formalities should be undertaken
  • On the policy aspect, India should support the signing of exploitation contracts when the term of current exploration contracts come to an end. Upon signing of the first exploitation contract it becomes obligatory to set up the commercial arm of the International Seabed Authority, namely, the “Enterprise”. The main function of the Enterprise is to begin seabed mineral exploitation in the reserved areas, simultaneously, with other contractors
  • India should explore the possibilities of joint venture operations with the Enterprise, the commercial arm of the International Seabed Authority, as soon as it is established
  • India should be prepared to play a proactive role in the Governing Board of the Enterprise when established
  • India should also be prepared to seek representation in the Economic and Planning Commission of the ISA once established
  • India should explore partnerships and collaborative ventures relating to lifting, transportation, extractive metallurgy, environmental impact assessment, and restoration techniques
  • India should also explore business opportunities in the area of transportation of materials recovered from deep-seabed, port facilities and storage facilities. It could also devise collaborations with South Africa, Mauritius and Seychelles in infrastructure and logistics arrangements that may be required
  • Indian authorities and industry should plan carefully and focused expansion of capacities, both through the capture and culture route to take advantage of the expanding demand-supply gap, which would need an additional global production of over 30 MMTs by 2030
  • Capacity expansion must be pursued with sustainability by paying special attention to ecosystem driven approaches to fish stock management, less polluting feed/disease control methods, high-value culture varieties and avoidance of gene pool contamination
  • Adopt measures to reduce wastage through the entire supply chain from catch to plate
  • Introduce better quality assurance and certification system, including hygiene and cold supply chains
  • Promote research in marine biotechnology, especially marine metabolites
  • Greater emphasis on improving coastal and marine tourism infrastructure, including connectivity, quality accommodation, hygiene and security
  • Initiate pilot projects for introducing and promoting ecosystem-based marine spatial planning, which in due course could be extended to larger ocean spaces
  • Adopt proactive measures to reduce marine litter, which also offers business opportunities. 

Photo caption:

Mr V Muraleedharan, MoS, External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs, GoI addressing FICCI-Konrad report on ‘Blue Economy – Global Best Practices’ at FICCI, New Delhi.

Ambassador Anup K. Mudgal, Member, FICCI Task Force on Blue Economy addressing during the launch of FICCI-Konrad report on ‘Blue Economy – Global Best Practices’ at FICCI, New Delhi.

Mr Peter Rimmele, Resident Representative, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung; Dr Jyotsna Suri, Past President, FICCI; Mr V Muraleedharan, MoS, External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs, GoI; Amb Rajiv Bhatia, Chair, FICCI Core Group on Blue Economy and Mr Manish Singhal, Deputy Secretary General, FICCI during the launch of FICCI-Konrad report on ‘Blue Economy – Global Best Practices’ at FICCI, New Delhi.

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(Onkareshwar Pandey is Founder, Editor in Chief & CEO, Indian Observer Post and former Senior Group Editor- Rashtriya Sahara (Hindi & Urdu) and also former Editor, (News), ANIhttp://bit.ly/2mh7hih)

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