According to Down-to-Earth statistics, 148 deep-sea fishing vessels operate from Visakhapatnam, and many of these vessels are owned by the public sector.
Recently, the government has decided to make a slight modification to the Palk Bay Scheme. They are considering increasing the unit cost of sea vessels from Rs. 80 lakhs to Rs 1.3 crore. This plan is expected to attract more fisherfolk.
What is the Palk Bay Scheme?
The Palk Bay scheme is a Tamil Nadu-specific scheme launched in 2017. It is a centrally sponsored scheme and a part of the Blue Revolution.
What is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme?
A centrally sponsored scheme is the scheme where the union government partially funds the scheme. The union government bears expenditure, while the state government handles the rest of the cost.
What is the Blue Revolution?
The Blue Revolution is the innovative effort taken by the government to promote fishing as an allied activity for farmers. Under this innovation, the government works to lay measures to increase the income of farmers.
Objectives of the Palk Bay Scheme
Following are the objectives of the Palk Bay Scheme:
- The Palk Bay Scheme helps in the diversification of Travel Fishing Boats from Palk Straits into Deep Sea Fishing Boats.
- It also aims to provide 2,000 fishing vessels in three years to the fishermen of Tamil Nadu.
What is Pal Strait?
Palm Strait is a narrow water channel between India and Sri Lanka. It connects the water of the Arabian sea to the Bay of Bengal.
What are Fishing Vessels?
They consist of the boats and motors that fishermen use for fishing. The scheme also aims to reduce the fishing pressure around the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL). It would help to ensure that Tamil Nadu fishermen do not cross the IMBL and hunt fish in the Sri Lankan Waters.
Funding of Palk Bay Scheme
The scheme is 50% funded by the center, 20% by the state, 10% by institutes, and 20% by the beneficiary.
What is the Marine Fisheries Bill?
The Marine Fisheries Bill of 2021 was presented during the Monsoon Session of the Parliament. Following are the important highlights of the Marine Fisheries Bill:
- The bill was introduced to provide laws and rules for fishing vessels.
- Under this bill, only those vessels will be granted licenses registered under the merchant shipping act of 1958.
- The vessels must be registered to fish in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
- The bill prohibits fishermen from using foreign vessels for fishing.
- The bill also has a section for the punishment of unlicensed fishermen.
- There is a mention of strict punishment for the fishermen who do not cooperate with DCG officials and orders.
What is the Monsoon Session of the Parliament?
Monsoon Session is held in the Parliament every year between July and September.
What is EEZ?
EEZ stands for Exclusive Economic Area in the deep sea. EEZ may be defined as a territorial sea that is adjacent to a coastal state. It extends outwards to 200 nautical miles from the baseline.
All the coastal nations have sovereign rights with respect to the resource present in the Exclusive Economic Zone.
What is the ICG?
ICG stands for Indian Coastal Guard. It is a custom marine organization that deals with the maintenance of law and discipline in coastal areas.
ICG also checks the illegal activities in coastal areas such as hijacking, attacking ships, piracy, and armed robbery, to name a few.
A Way Forward
The Marine Fisheries Bill and Palm Bay Scheme are essential for the Blue Revolution in India. The schemes have enormous benefits for the farmers and fish-dependent industries and will also directly or indirectly help in the nation’s progress. For example, the bill prohibited foreign vessels in the deep sea. Thus, it will increase the production and benefit of domestic vehicles in the market. The Palk Bay Scheme focuses on attracting more fishermen. As the scheme will work to reduce the pressure around the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), this will ultimately help establish Indian relations with nearby coastal countries, especially Sri Lanka. Many times, Indian fishermen cross the boundary line IMBL and fish in Sri Lanka waters; this causes issues and conflict between the two countries. The Palk Bay Scheme is a great solution for such conflicts in the future. The Marine Fisheries Bill not only supports the Blue Revolution but also protects the dignity of our coastal guards. ICG officials work day and night to ensure safety in coastal areas, so having a set of punishments for people who do not follow them will help protect their dignity and make their work easier.