Union Minister Nitin Gadkari Wednesday said the blue economy is a critical aspect of the India's economic development agenda and the country endorses its growth in a sustainable manner.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari Wednesday said the blue economy is a critical aspect of the India’s economic development agenda and the country endorses its growth in a sustainable manner. Transport and Shipping Minister Gadkari, who is in Kenya to attend a conference on the blue economy, also said that Africa could be a good market for Indian electric vehicles and two-wheelers. “India endorses the growth of the blue economy in a sustainable, inclusive and people centred manner through the framework of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA),” Gadkari was quoted as said at the conference in Nairobi in a statement by the Ministry of Shipping. He said the blue economy remains a critical aspect of India’s economic development agenda, and more than 95 per cent of the country’s trade is being carried on by sea.
The minister was speaking Wednesday at the ‘Sustainable Blue Economy Conference’ in Nairobi, hosted by Kenya with Canada and Japan as co-hosts. “Emphasising the importance that India lays on developing its maritime resources, Gadkari said that our National Vision in this regard is clearly articulated in the term SAGAR – Security and Growth for All in the Region – coined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said that Prime Minister says that the ‘blue chakra’ of India’s national flag represents the potential of the blue economy, and gave assurance that the Ministry of Shipping is committed to realising its full potential,” the statement said.
The minister talked about the government’s ambitious Sagarmala Programme and how it is poised to revolutionise maritime logistics and port led developments in India. He said the programme has identified 600 plus projects entailing a huge investment of USD 120 billion (around Rs 8 lakh crore) by 2020. This in turn would save India USD 6 billion per annum in logistics costs besides creating 10 million new jobs and boosting port capacity by 800 million metric tonne per annum (MMTPA) to an overall 3,500 MMTPA, the statement said adding that Coastal Economic Zones (CEZs) are being developed with a proposed investment of USD 150 million per location under the programme.
The minister said the programme is also focussing on the development of coastal communities and people through skill gap analysis, skill development centres to train coastal communities in the sustainable use of ocean resources, modern fishing techniques and coastal tourism. “An investment of USD 1.10 billion is planned across various coastal districts in India for this purpose.
In addition to this, several green initiatives are also being taken in the coastal regions like 31 MW of captive solar power generation being planned at various ports, installation of oil spill response facilities and study to identify ways to re-use waste water at ports,” the statement said. Talking about the important role of the private sector for sustainable growth, the minister said that industry body FICCI took lead in 2016-2017 by establishing a task force to develop a business model on India’s engagement in the blue economy sector.
Gadkari also held discussions with James Wainaina Macharia, the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary (Minister) Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, during which he offered India’s cooperation to Kenya for ship-building, vessels for coast guard, fishing trawlers. He invited the Kenyan Minister to visit India and see the expertise of Cochin Shipyard Ltd in building ships, which would be required by the newly established Coast Guard of Kenya, and also fishing trawlers for deep sea fishing.
“Gadkari further highlighted the development of electric cars and vehicles in India which could have market in Kenya. He also offered to encourage Indian car manufacturers to set up assembly plants in Kenya for the African market,” the statement said. The Kenyan minister offered cooperation to India for activating ship building in Kenya and suggested that the bilateral cooperation could extend beyond blue economy to other areas.