PR No – 421
7th June, 2023
Blue Economy vital for India’s Sustainable Growth, says Shri Avinash Mishra, Adviser, NITI Aayog
NEW DELHI, 7th June 2023: Blue economy refers to sustainable use and management of coastal resources stated Shri Avinash Mishra, Adviser, NITI Aayog, GOI at the conference on ‘Global Blue Deal’ – a framework for ocean-based industries to protect the ocean which was organised by the apex industry body, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI).
During his keynote address, Shri Mishra highlighted the growing relevance of the blue economy in a world where the population is projected to reach 10 billion in the near future. He pointed out that approximately 40% of the global population resides within 100 kilometres of the coast, with around 10% of people being vulnerable to sea-level rise. Therefore, it is crucial to adopt sustainable practices to ensure the well-being of both human populations and marine ecosystems.
Shri Mishra informed that the commercial value of ocean activities is estimated to be between US $3 trillion and US $6 trillion. The ocean plays a vital role in global telecommunications, with approximately 95% of communication being dependent on underwater cables. Moreover, marine transport accounts for a significant portion of global trade, and around 30% of oil and gas production occurs in the ocean. He explained that furthermore, the fishing industry employs around 60 million people globally, while maritime tourism contributes approximately 5% to global GDP and provides 6% to 7% of employment opportunities.
India, with its extensive coastline spanning 7,500 kilometres across 9 states and 3 union territories, possesses significant potential in the blue economy. However, Shri Avinash Mishra emphasised the need for India to rediscover its historical maritime strength, drawing parallels to the era of Vasco da Gama when ocean-based trade and commerce flourished. Recognising the importance of sustainable practices, the central government has initiated several programs, including the Sampada Yojana and the Sagarmala project, to harness the potential of the blue economy and integrated coastal management. Shri Avinash Mishra also highlighted the need for individual states to explore opportunities within their territorial waters and beyond, up to the exclusive economic zone and even common waters.
Shri Avinash Mishra highlighted the opportunities in sectors like fisheries and aquaculture, fishing, storage, processing, and export, shipping and maritime transportation, cruise tourism, offshore oil and gas exploration, seaweed cultivation, renewable energy sources such as tidal and wind energy, marine biotechnology, tourism and recreation, and ocean research and exploration. He urged the private organisations to contribute to scientific research and exploration in these areas to maximise the benefits of the blue economy.
Shri Avinash Mishra expressed his belief that the development of the blue economy would significantly contribute to India’s economic growth, aiming to reach a $5 trillion economy and beyond. The blue economy presents tremendous opportunities for job creation and the utilisation of diverse ocean resources, ultimately benefiting the Indian economy and ensuring a sustainable future, he added.
Dr. Sandip Kumar Mukhopadhyay, Senior Scientist, Ministry of Earth and Science, GOI stated that the Ministry of Earth Science plays a vital role in providing services and conducting research related to the ocean. He explained that the ministry maintains an extensive network of weather and ocean observations, including autonomous weather stations, buoys, gliders, and satellites. These observations are used to give fishermen with critical weather forecasts, cyclone alerts, and advisories for potential fishing zones. Furthermore, the ministry is actively involved in the exploration and development of marine biotechnology, non-living resources, and the Antarctic krill fishery, he said.
Dr. Sandip also highlighted the ministry’s efforts in formulating a blue economy policy, encompassing areas such as fisheries, coastal tourism, and seaweed farming. The primary objective is to promote sustainable utilisation of marine resources and contribute to the nation’s economic growth. It is worth noting that India’s blue economy accounts for 4% of the GDP, providing support to coastal communities and fisheries.
Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia, Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies Programme, Gateway House, stressed the importance of the Blue Economy. He emphasised that, as a model with three pillars, one security must be maritime security. There will be no blue economy without this. Two, there must be sustainability. That is, it should be in opposition to green ideas. The third factor is productivity or profitability. It is the third pillar that makes it more appealing to business and industry, he pointed out.
Furthermore, Ambassador Bhatia proposed building synergy among India’s numerous Chambers of Commerce at the national level. Promoting and expanding this relationship would benefit all those involved.
CS Deepak Jain, Founder of Vijayash Foundation a Learning & Development Organisation & Chairman, DMA ESG Committee, underlined the need for individuals to be aware of global concerns such as global warming, climate change, and ocean acidification. According to him, our unconscious acts have aggravated these challenges while ignoring societal and environmental well-being. To avoid catastrophic disasters, such as a projected 2.7-meter rise in sea levels over the next 50 years, which would affect coastal cities such as Mumbai and Chennai, immediate action is essential.
CS Deepak emphasised th importance of both governments and individuals taking steps to develop a sustainable ocean economy. As the ocean’s capacity to absorb CO2 has reached its limit, it is critical to invest in seaweed production and minimise CO2 emissions. Failure to act will result in the continuous devastation of marine and coastal ecosystems, endangering the communities that rely on them.
Shri Sanjay Beswal, Co-Chair of the Foreign Trade & Investment Committee at PHDCCI, highlighted the importance of the sustainable blue economy. He emphasised that it brings social and economic advantages, such as ensuring food security, eradicating poverty, creating job opportunities, and driving sustainable development. The global expansion of the blue economy, with an estimated annual turnover of $3-6 trillion, presents a significant opportunity for India.
Shri Beswal underlined the need for India to develop an integrated strategy to responsibly utilise ocean resources, especially considering the impacts of climate change. The blue economy holds immense potential for growth, aligning with the government’s vision of New India by 2030. India actively participates in international and regional dialogues, aiming to become a major player in this sector.
Furthermore, Shri Beswal stated that by prioritising long-term economic benefits, growth, job creation, equity, and environmental protection, India can unlock the transformative power of the blue economy.
Dr. S P Sharma, Chief Economist at DSG, PHDCCI, praised the Government of India and NITI Aayog for their support during the pandemic and geopolitical challenges. He said India’s resilience and reforms have made it an attractive global investment destination. Recognised as a bright spot by the IMF, India contributes significantly to global growth. Impressive strides have been made in ease of doing business, innovation, and the overall business environment. India is set to remain the fastest-growing economy for decades.
Dr. Sharma informed that despite global obstacles, India is projected to exceed 6% growth in the next five years. Inflation is in line with the Reserve Bank of India’s targets, and prices are stabilising while producer margins rise. He also said that Enhanced production capabilities will further boost India’s GDP. Policymakers, NITI Aayog, the Government of India, and institutions like the Ministry of Science and Technology are expected to deliver. Our scientists continue to drive research and innovation, strengthening India’s economy.
PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry