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Interim budget mentions blue economy 2.0: What this means

Context- In her speech on Thursday (February 1), Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled the Interim Budget, which emphasized the importance of eco-friendly growth via the advancement of the ‘blue economy’. Sitharaman announced the launch of a new scheme aimed at fostering climate-resilient activities for the blue economy 2.0. This scheme will focus on restoration, adaptation measures, and the development of coastal aquaculture and mariculture, employing an integrated and multi-sectoral strategy.

What is blue economy?

  • The term ‘blue economy’ primarily refers to the sustainable economic activities associated with oceans, seas, and coasts. It encompasses a broad spectrum of interconnected established and emerging sectors.
  • The European Commission defines it as all economic activities related to oceans, seas, and coasts, while the World Bank describes it as the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs, all while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem.
  • For a country like India, which has a long coastline, diverse marine life, and numerous tourism opportunities, the blue economy holds significant importance.

What does the Interim Budget propose to do about blue economy?

  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the launch of a scheme for restoration and adaptation measures, and coastal aquaculture and mariculture with an integrated and multi-sectoral approach. This scheme aims to protect ocean health while conducting economic activities.
  • Aquaculture, the farming of aquatic plants and animals, and mariculture, the rearing and harvesting of marine creatures in salt water, will be key components of this scheme. Additionally, five integrated aquaparks will be established.
  • The Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) will be enhanced to increase aquaculture productivity from three to five tonnes per hectare, double exports to Rs 1 lakh crore, and generate 55 lakh employment opportunities in the near future.

Does India have a blue economy policy?

  • The Budget document introduced the concept of ‘blue economy 2.0’. A draft policy framework on India’s Blue Economy was initially released in July 2022, which included key recommendations on various aspects such as National Accounting Framework for Blue Economy and Ocean Governance, Coastal Marine Spatial Planning, Tourism Priority, Marine Fisheries, Aquaculture and Fish Processing, and more.
  • During the G20 summit hosted in New Delhi under India’s presidency, the Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG) led the Engagement Group for Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) of the member countries in June 2023.
  • The two main priorities for the SAI20 discussions were the blue economy and responsible Artificial Intelligence.

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