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Celebrating 2-years of PMMSY: Building momentum for “Neeli Kranti se Arth Kranti”

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Shri Parshottam  Rupala

Fisheries, an emerging sector amongst the primary producing sectors, plays a crucial role in socio-economic development of our country, especially of the rural India. Considered as a ‘sunrise sector’, it envisages to bring in mammoth potential in an equitable, responsible, and inclusive manner. The sector employs approximately 28 million fish farmers and fishers in the at the primary level and almost twice the number along the fisheries value chain.

Foreseeing the huge scope of development, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, in Dec 2014, called for ‘Blue Revolution’ in the Fisheries sector and took several measures to harness the potential of fisheries in a sustainable way. Some of the key Central measures include: (i) Creation of Separate Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, (ii) Formation of Department of Fisheries with independent administrative structure, (iii) Policy reforms initiatives (iv) Creation of Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF) in FY 2018-19 worth Rs. 7,522.48 crore, to address critical infrastructure gaps. So far, proposals worth Rs. 4923.94 have been recommended to States/UTs, including 20 fishing harbours and 16 fish landing centres in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha & Andhra Pradesh, along with 25 proposals from private beneficiaries worth Rs. 120.23 crores.

Building on the success of ‘Blue Revolution’ scheme, the GoI launched its flagship scheme Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana-PMMSY, with the highest ever investment of Rs. 20,050 Crore in the Indian fisheries sector. PMMSY was launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister, on 10 Sep 2020 under the Atmanirbhar Bharat package, aiming to double the income of small and artisanal fish farmers. It aims to transform the sector holistically, focusing on production & productivity growth, increased domestic consumption & export earnings, and reduced post-harvest losses. It gives me immense pleasure to write this column today as we complete two years from the launch of PMMSY.

To enhance the fish production and reduce post-harvest losses, uptake of modern aquaculture, capture fishing and post-harvest management practises are essential. For this, PMMSY lays special focus on skill and capacity building of fishers, fish farmers and other stakeholders to address their training requirements.

Being implemented across the country, the scheme has got overwhelming response from all States/UTs, and during the last two years, the Department has sanctioned projects worth Rs 8562.72 crores for the sectoral development. It is inspiring to share that the fish production has increased from 141.64 lakh tonnes during 2019-20 to 162.53 lakh tonnes, as on date.

On the other hand, India’s fisheries exports stood all time high at Rs 57586.48 crores. Indian export market is dominated by shrimps particularly by L. vannamei. To achieve the target of achieving exports worth Rs 1 lakh Crores under PMMSY, the Department has been focusing on diversifying the export basket by increasing production and quality of tilapia, trout, pangasius, cobia, pompano, and many other species.

The sector-wise activities and projects sanctioned till date have generated employment for around 3.5 lakh beneficiaries directly, and over 9.7 lakh beneficiaries across the value-chain. the Central assistance of Rs. 3000/beneficiary/year has provided livelihood & nutritional support to total 6,77,462 marginalized fish farmers’ and their families during the fishing ban/ lean period.

To augment and replenish fish production, promote sustainable fisheries practices, and support bio-conversation, PMMSY has introduced sea and river ranching programme, as special sub-activity.

For the next few years PMMSY aims to emphasize on strategic interventions where fishing vessel insurance, promoting sustainable Aquaculture, extension support services for the fishers and fish farmers, technology infusion, Integrated Aqua Park building, Fisheries Cooperatives/ formation of FFPOs are some of the crucial components.

PMMSY puts special emphasis on employment generation for women, SC/ST communities by providing alternate livelihood opportunities such as seaweed cultivation, ornamental fisheries, and other associated activities. Women in fisheries are instrumental and therefore, PMMSY provides 60% subsidies to women beneficiaries, including special benefits to women entrepreneurs and encourage them to enter the fisheries sector. So far, projects worth Rs. 1534.05 crores have been sanctioned for women beneficiaries, supporting a total of 37,576 women beneficiaries.

Encouraging private sector participation, innovation & entrepreneurship, PMMSY has earmarked a separate fund of Rs. 100 Crore under the Entrepreneur Models and urges young entrepreneurs to come forward and offer solutions through technology interventions in the fisheries sector.

To facilitate the access to institutional credit & meet working capital requirements, the GoI has extended KCC facilities to fish farmers from FY 2018-19. To saturate the eligible fishers, KCC national level campaigns are being organized across the country in close association with Ministry of Finance and State departments.

Towards boosting domestic consumption, National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), nodal agency for PMMSY implementation has been supporting in organizing fish festivals, culinary seminars, exposure visits in various states to highlight the nutritional benefits, especially for the women and children. Adding to these, the Department has released a coffee table book named ‘Fish & Seafood – a collection of 75 gourmet recipes’ on 10 August 2022.

With many such interventions including policy reforms and specific measures in pipeline, the GoI has been simultaneously making efforts to develop the Indian fisheries sector towards becoming global leader in sustainable fisheries and aquaculture sector.

The writer is FAHD minister

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