ntroduction: Fisheries and Aquaculture, a Major Revenue Earner
In India, fisheries and aquaculture are a significant source of food, employment and income. This sector provides livelihood to more than 20 million fish farmers at the primary level and twofold the number in the value chain. This sector also has enormous potential to increase the income of fishers and fish farmers as planned by government and bring in economic prosperity.
The fisheries sector in India has brought impressive growth, with an average annual growth rate of 10.88% from 2014-2015 to 2018-2019. In India, the fish production has seen an average annual growth of 7.53% during last five years and the export of marine products was at 13.93 lakh metric tons, which was valued at Rs 46,589 crores in 2018-2019.
In anticipation of these vast potential for development of fisheries and for giving intensive attention to this sector, the government in its Union Budget, 2019-2020, announced a new scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana.
The PMMSY scheme aims to rectify critical gaps in fish production and productivity, technology, quality, post-harvest infrastructure and management, modernization of value chain, traceability and also establishing a robust fisheries management framework for the welfare of fishermen.
The PMMSY Scheme: Aims and Objectives
The PMMSY scheme will try to address matters such as low output in inland aquaculture, disease, sustainability of marine fisheries and sanitary and phyto-sanitary matters that impact the attractiveness and competitiveness of India’s exports accompanied by global benchmarking.
Further, the PMMSY scheme will enhance fish production through expansion, diversification and productive utilization of land and water, harness fisheries’ potential in a sustainable and responsible manner, modernize and establish a value chain for post-harvest management and improvement in quality, increase farmers’ income and generate employment, enhance contribution to exports and provide social and economic security for fish farmers.
The PMMSY Scheme: A Major Employment Generator
The PMMSY scheme will increase fish production from 137.58 lakh metric tonnes in 2018-2019 to 220 lakh metric tonnes by 2024-2025 and will bring sustained average annual growth of about 9% in fish production. The scheme will bring in much-needed dollar amount, it will double export earnings from Rs 46,589 crores in 2018-2019 to about Rs 1,00,000 crores by 2024-2025.
The post-harvest losses in fisheries will be reduced from the present 20-25% to about 10%. The scheme will enhance the production in aquaculture from the current national average of 3 tonnes to about 5 tonnes per hectare. It will also generate about 55 lakhs direct and indirect employment opportunities in the fisheries sector in the supply and value chain. The major beneficiaries of the scheme are fish farmers, fish workers, fish vendors, SCs/STs/women/differently abled persons, fisheries cooperatives/federations, fisheries development corporations, self-help groups and individual entrepreneurs.
Conclusion: Potential in the Fisheries Sector
The fisheries sector has a very important role in the country’s economic development. The fisheries and aquaculture sector has shown robust growth of about 8% per year on an average, with the aquaculture sector growing at an annual average of about 11%. India is the second-largest aquaculture-producing country and is among the top nations in export of fish and fish products in the world.
India’s immense potential in fisheries is yet to be harnessed in an organic and sustainable way. The Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana is a right step in this direction to realize the full potential of the fisheries sector. Understanding the importance of the fisheries sector, the government has designed the PMMSY to bring out a sustainable blue revolution in the country and in doubling the income of fish farmers in areas of inland fisheries, marine fisheries, as well as post-harvest management of fisheries.