Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh has said that the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is finalizing a National Policy on the blue economy for the country.
In a written reply in Lok Sabha, the minister informed that a draft policy framework on India’s Blue Economy had been prepared. It envisages the optimal utilization of all sectors of the maritime domain, from living and non-living resources to tourism and ocean energy for sustainable development of coastal areas.
The document contains key recommendations on a national accounting framework for the blue economy and ocean governance; coastal marine spatial planning and tourism priority; marine fisheries, aquaculture, and fish processing; manufacturing, emerging industries, trade, technology, services, skill development; logistics, infrastructure, and shipping; coastal and deep-sea mining and offshore energy; and security, strategic dimensions, and international engagement.
A National Blue Economy Advisory Council (BEAC) has been proposed to be set up. It will have the Secretaries of relevant Ministries and Departments as members and include Chief Secretaries/Principal Secretaries of the coastal States and representatives from industry.
The draft policy document was put out for comments and feedback from the general public and all relevant stakeholders. Many valuable comments/ suggestions received from ministries/ departments, parliament members, non-governmental organisations, industry representatives, and the general public have been considered. The policy document has been revised accordingly.
To another query, he clarified there is no activity with the theme ‘Swachh Prithvi, Swachh Sagar’. Instead, an action with the theme ‘Swachh Sagar, Surakshit Sagar’ is being implemented. It is a 75 days-long coastal clean-up campaign for cleaning at least 75 beaches along the Indian coast. It started on July 5 and will culminate on September 17 on ‘International Coastal Clean Up Day’. The activity is being organized by MoES jointly with the Indian Coast Guard, MoEF&CC, MoYAS, NDMA, Paryavaran Sanrakshan Gatividhi, other Government Departments, voluntary organizations, the public, and students.
The steps/initiatives would include support for awareness campaigns, competitions, and workshops/seminars on the issues through Earth Day, Ocean Day, and other such occasions in schools, colleges, and universities.