The Blue Revolution in India, also known as the Neel Kranti Mission, was initiated around 1985 ( seventh five year plan) by Dr. Arun Krishnan and Dr.Hiralal Chaudhari, also known as father of Blue Revolution.
The Blue Revolution's multifaceted efforts are primarily focused on enhancing fisheries output and productivity from aquaculture and fisheries resources, both inland and marine.
China presently leads in aquaculture output with a staggering 60 million tonnes per year, while India ranks second at 4.7 million tonnes per year. India's aquaculture industry, on the other hand, has the potential to surpass China, therefore creating more job opportunities, increasing exports, strengthening the rural economy, and contributing significantly to the country's GDP. To improve, however, India would require new policies or a Master Plan for this crucial industry by 2030.
The fisheries sector plays a vital role in economic and overall development of the country. Referred to as the “sunrise sector”, the fisheries sector is poised to bring in immense potential through equitable and inclusive growth. Fisheries is one of the fastest growing sectors amongst the primary producing sectors.
India is the second major producer of fish through aquaculture in the world.India is the 4th largest exporter of fish in the world as it contributes 7.7% to the global fish production.
Currently, this sector provides livelihood to more than 2.8 crore people within the country. Nevertheless, this is a sector with untapped potential.
The Blue Revolution scheme has the following components:
The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries has restructured the scheme by merging all the ongoing schemes under an umbrella of Blue Revolution. The redesigned programme offers targeted development and administration of fisheries, comprising inland fisheries, aquaculture, marine fisheries, including deep sea fishing, mariculture, and other National Fisheries Development Board operations (NFDB).
National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) and its activities
Development of Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture
Development of Marine Fisheries, Infrastructure and Post-Harvest Operations
Strengthening of Database & Geographical Information System of the Fisheries Sector
Institutional Arrangement for Fisheries Sector
Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) and other need-based Interventions
National Scheme of Welfare of Fishermen
Objectives of NFDB
The objectives of National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) are as below-
To provide focused attention to fisheries and aquaculture (production, processing, storage, transport and marketing).
To achieve sustainable management and conservation of natural aquatic resources.
To apply modern tools of research and development including biotechnology for optimizing production and productivity from fisheries.
To provide modern infrastructure mechanisms for fisheries and ensure their effective management and optimum utilization.
To train and empower women in the fisheries sector and also generate substantial employment.
To enhance the contribution of fish towards food and nutritional security.
However, India's fisheries industry has the same issue of sustainability as the rest of the globe. According to the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture reports of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, approximately 90 percent of the world's marine fish stocks are either completely exploited, overfished, or depleted to such a degree that recovery may not be biologically viable.
The marine capture fishery is dominated by small fishermen using traditional boats, which are either non-motorized or equipped with a simple outboard engine. These boats are restricted to near-shore seas. High value species such as tuna cannot be caught by fishermen who use these vessels. This means that while the near-shore coastal waters are highly overfished, the high value fish stock proliferates in the deep seas.
Utilizing these resources in a sustainable manner will provide enormous advantages for fishing communities. Therefore, the new National Policy on Marine Fisheries discusses the introduction of deep-sea fishing boats and the assistance of fishing communities in adapting their vessels and gear for deeper seas.
However, we must avoid succumbing to the temptation of implementing industrial fishing on a huge scale. We must consider the sustainability issues and recognise that fishing is a key source of income for a substantial number of communities and people. The policies created by the new department should strive to improve productivity, profits, and incomes.
What needs to be done?
Any plan concerning fisheries sector should place specific emphasis on enhancing productivity in inland fisheries.
It is true that China has a natural edge due to having more than twice as much coastline as India and bigger interior water resources and reservoir regions. India has one of the greatest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) areas, with over 2 million square kilometres compared to China's 0.88 million square kilometres. The development of EEZ calls for new systems and large-scale deployment of offshore aquaculture activities of high value species.
Ocean ranching is a field that will provide substantial societal returns without harming the ecology.
India also need a unified national database on marine fisheries, since only accurate statistics accurately represent the facts on the ground, hence facilitating future planning.
Food processing and marketing cannot become complete in the absence of logistics. To manage high harvests, a strong logistical support needs additional infrastructure facilities such as cold chain and storage facilities. Currently, thirty to thirty-five percent of perishable goods are lost due to spoiling. In addition, marketing infrastructure and cloud-based market intelligence should be established.