BLUEPRINT FOR INDIA’S MARITIME ECONOMY
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Picture Courtesy: indiainfrahub.com
Context: The Prime Minister of India recently inaugurated the third edition of the Global Maritime India Summit 2023 in Mumbai via video conferencing.
- During this event, the Prime Minister unveiled 'Amrit Kaal Vision 2047,' which serves as a blueprint for the Indian maritime blue economy. The plan includes strategic initiatives to enhance port facilities, promote sustainable practices, and facilitate international collaboration.
- As part of the Amrit Kaal Vision 2047, the Prime Minister also inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for various projects valued at more than Rs 23,000 crores that align with the Amrit Kaal Vision 2047.
Prime Minister highlighted several key points in his address:
- India's role in the world is evolving, and it is becoming increasingly important in the global economy. The nation is on the path to becoming one of the world's top three economies.
- India's economy is strengthening, and efforts are being made to reduce business costs, improve logistical efficiency, and create jobs. Various initiatives related to ports, container trans-shipment, island development, inland waterways, and multi-modal hubs are underway.
- Reliable global supply chains, especially through sea routes, are crucial in the post-COVID-19 world, and India emphasizes their significance in global trade.
- India has historically benefited the world with its maritime capabilities. The government has taken systematic steps to strengthen the maritime sector, including the development of ports and coastal shipping modes.
- The proposed India-Middle East Europe Economic Corridor is expected to have a transformative impact on global trade, emphasizing India's growing influence in the global economic landscape.
- Major ports in India have seen a significant increase in capacity over the last decade. Efforts have been made to reduce turnaround time for large vessels, and coastal cargo traffic has doubled, providing cost-effective logistic options.
- India is focusing on developing its ship-building and repair sector, encouraging the "Make in India" initiative in this area, with plans to become one of the top five ship-building nations.
- There is a focus on making major ports in India carbon-neutral, promoting a "Green Planet" through the concept of the "Blue Economy."
- India is promoting maritime tourism, including the development of cruise terminals and a National Maritime Heritage Complex, to boost tourism and create economic opportunities.
India's Maritime Economy
- India's maritime economy, characterized by a vast coastline, major and minor ports, a thriving shipping industry, shipbuilding ventures, and a substantial fishing sector, holds immense importance for the nation's economic growth and development.
- India has a coastline of over 7,500 kilometres and is home to 13 major ports and over 200 minor ports. The country's maritime sector also includes a thriving shipping industry, shipbuilding industry, and fishing industry.
Contribution to GDP
●India's maritime sector contributes about 5% to the country's GDP, both directly and indirectly. Direct contributions come from activities like shipping, port operations, and shipbuilding, while indirect contributions stem from sectors such as tourism, fisheries, and coastal development. This sector's economic significance is undeniable, fostering a robust and interconnected economy.
●With over 10 million employees, the maritime sector provides vast employment opportunities. Direct jobs are in shipping, port operations, shipbuilding, and fisheries, while indirect employment is generated in tourism, coastal development, and related fields. This employment not only sustains livelihoods but also fuels economic growth in coastal regions.
●India's maritime sector is the backbone of its trade activities. More than 95% of India's trade by volume and 68% by value occurs through seaports. These ports serve as gateways, facilitating the exchange of goods and connecting India to a network of over 200 countries and territories. Such trade links are essential for a thriving global economy.
Significance of maritime economy
- India's maritime trade accounts for a substantial portion of its total trade. Ports like Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata are critical gateways for both domestic and international trade, handling a vast array of goods.
- India's energy security depends significantly on maritime resources, with a substantial portion of its oil and gas supplies arriving through seaborne trade. Maintaining secure sea lanes is crucial to ensuring the energy needs of the nation.
- The maritime domain is integral to national security. India's coastline and maritime borders require constant vigilance to counter threats such as piracy, terrorism, and smuggling.
- India is increasingly tapping into its "Blue Economy" potential, which includes activities like fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, and seabed mining. These sectors hold immense promise for economic growth and employment generation.
India's maritime sector faces several challenges
- Investment in maritime infrastructure like ports, shipyards, and coastal highways is crucial for improving efficiency and accommodating growing trade demands.
- Pollution from ship emissions and oil spills endangers marine life and ecosystems, necessitating stringent regulations and eco-friendly practices.
- Illegal and destructive fishing practices threaten marine biodiversity. Sustainable fishing methods and conservation efforts are essential.
- Rising sea levels and extreme weather events due to climate change pose threats. Adaptation strategies and environmental conservation are vital to mitigate these impacts.
- Sagarmala Project: Aiming at coastal infrastructure development, this project focuses on ports, shipyards, and highways to enhance connectivity and trade efficiency.
- Make in India Program: Promoting domestic manufacturing, this initiative boosts the shipbuilding industry, enhancing India's self-sufficiency in vessel production.
- Blue Economy Initiative: Focused on sustainable maritime resource development, this initiative promotes fisheries, tourism, and renewable energy sectors, ensuring long-term ecological balance.
Potential for Growth
- Continued investment in port infrastructure, technology, and logistics can enhance India's competitiveness in global trade.
- Collaborating with other maritime nations and international organizations can strengthen India's maritime security and influence.
- Promoting research and innovation in marine technology and resource management can drive growth in the blue economy.
- Implementing sustainable fishing and maritime practices can ensure the long-term health of the marine ecosystem.
- Focusing on skill development and education in maritime-related fields can create a workforce capable of meeting the demands of the industry.
- India's maritime economy is a dynamic and multifaceted sector contributing significantly to the nation's economic prosperity. With strategic investments, sustainable practices, and government initiatives, the sector can overcome challenges, fostering economic growth, environmental conservation, and social development for the country. Sustainable management and balanced policies are vital to ensure the longevity of India's maritime economy while preserving marine ecosystems for future generations.
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MARITIME SECURITY CHALLENGES: https://www.iasgyan.in/ig-uploads/pdf/rstv24.pdf
Q. What are the key factors contributing to the growth of India's maritime economy, and how can the country address the challenges it faces in order to fully leverage its coastal resources for sustainable development?