₹20,000 crore scheme for fisheries

NEW DELHI :
The Centre on Friday announced a 20,000-crore scheme, Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana, to address critical infrastructure gaps for the fisheries sector. Of this, 11,000 crore will be spent on activities in marine, inland fisheries and aquaculture, while 9,000 crore will be used to build infrastructure, such as fishing harbours and cold chain.

The announcement is a part of the third tranche of reforms to improve farm infrastructure and logistics for the agriculture sector. The Centre has since Wednesday announced a slew of measures aimed at small businesses, migrants, street vendors, small traders, farmers, as part of the 20 trillion package to revive the economy.

The finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday that the PM Matsya Sampada Yojana, which was announced in the FY20 budget to plug critical gaps in the fisheries value chain, including modernization, traceability, production, productivity and post-harvest quality control will be executed immediately.

“We expect it will give employment to 5.5 million people and help in doubling India’s export to 1 trillion. It will bring better standards and traceability, new fishing vessels can be given to fishermen, new fishing harbours can be there,” she said. “Fishermen don’t go to the sea during a particular period. They can get assistance for that period. Personnel and boat insurance will also be provided. This will lead to additional fish production of 700,000 tonnes over the next five years,” she said. The government has continued to support the sector after the imposition of the nationwide lockdown by easing compliance burden, she added.

Cage culture, seaweed farming and ornamental fisheries, as well as new fishing vessels and laboratory network will be key activities, the ministry said.

The minister also conveyed emphasized on the government’s focus on empowering the financially and socially marginalized sections, rather than focusing on entitlements.

“The underlying principle is to empower the people, give them resources so that they can produce and have livelihoods for themselves rather than going for entitlements. Wherever entitlements are due, yes, they will be given. But largely our focus is to make sure India stands up on its own, and generates its own jobs,” she said.

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