Question – Discuss the importance of “Blue Revolution” as an alternative to employment and livelihood, one of the major problems after the pandemic? – 19 January 2022
One of the biggest problems after the pandemic is the challenge of employment and livelihood. This can be solved by proper use of marine resources. The blue economy “Blue Revolution” has immense potential for economic activity and job creation.
India’s maritime situation is unique. It has a coastline of 7,517 km and an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of two million square kilometers. India has vast marine resources. Therefore, there is a suitable opportunity to boost economic growth, tackle unemployment, food security and poverty.
Investing in Blue Economy will also be beneficial for India’s economic development, climate and environment.
Importance of “Blue Economy” for India
With a coastline of more than 7,500 km spread across nine coastal states, 12 major and 200 minor ports, 95% of trade is routed by sea and contributes (estimated) 4% to its GDP.
Exploitation of Ocean Resources:
Mining of existing polymetallic bodies in the foothills of the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) can help India improve the availability of minerals such as nickel, copper, cobalt and manganese. India has got the right to explore and mine polymetallic bodies in an area of 7, 50,000 square kilometer of CIOB through an agreement with International Sea Level Authority (ISA).
The Indian Ocean region has immense potential in relation to India’s trade. Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) countries have shown significant dynamism over the years, as trade in the region has increased more than fourfold.
Fisheries and Aquaculture:
India has a National Fisheries Policy to promote the ‘Blue Growth Initiative’ in India. This policy focuses on the sustainable use of fish resources derived from marine and other aquatic resources.
Ocean based blue economy is a new emerging sector. The blue economy is based on the use of locally available resources and planning for renewable sources.
High Return on Investment:
New research by the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy co-chaired by the Prime Minister of Norway shows that every dollar invested in major maritime activities gives five times or more value. Blue economy has been listed as one of the 10 key dimensions in the New India Vision released by the Government of India.
Supporting the growing demand for renewable energy, offshore areas have huge potential for offshore wind, ocean currents including waves, tidal currents and thermal energy.
Help in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals:
This will help meet all of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 14 ‘Life Below Water’.
Providing Packages to Promote Blue Economy: The blue economy should be provided with a sustainable and equitable stimulus package to deal with the crisis like COVID-19, thereby creating a sustainable maritime system globally and for India as well. It should focus on the following five promotional functions:
- investment for the protection of coastal and marine ecosystems,
- sewage and waste water infrastructure for coastal communities,
- sustainable marine aquaculture,
- zero-emissions maritime transport, and
- Promotion of ocean-based renewable energy.
A good example is the India-Norway Integrated Ocean Management Initiative, where researchers and officials are collaborating to improve the governance of marine resources through ocean spatial planning.
Education in Blue Economy/Blue Revolution: Educational programs related to both traditional and emerging sectors of the blue economy should be promoted in universities and engineering/technical institutions. Relevant trainers should be reinstated.
Gandhian Approach: India should adopt a Gandhian approach to balance economic benefits with the overarching goals of development, job creation, equity and protection of the environment.
The ocean has a role to play in maintaining a balance against economic and environmental conflict. Shipping de-carbonization, producing seafood and investing in ocean-based renewable energy provide better health outcomes, richer biodiversity, secure jobs and a safer planet for generations to come.