After supporting the entire MSME sector, the government is now putting individual focus on weaker niches. The government has lately launched a flagship scheme, Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) for focused and sustainable development of fisheries sector in India with an estimated investment of INR 20,050 crores. The investment sum will be implemented over a period of 5 years from FY 2020-21 to FY 2024-25 in all States and Union Territories, as a part of AatmaNirbhar Bharat Package.
This is the highest investment sum allocated to the fisheries sector so far. Out of this, an investment of about INR 12340 crores is proposed for beneficiary-oriented activities in Marine, Inland fisheries and Aquaculture and about INR 7710 crores investment for Fisheries Infrastructure, according to the official statement.
The newly launched programme aims at enhancing fish production by an additional 70 lakh tonne by 2024-25, increasing fisheries export earnings to INR 1,00,000 crore by 2024-25, doubling of incomes of fishers and fish farmers, thereby, reducing post-harvest losses from 20-25 per cent to nearly 10 per cent. It will also generate an additional 55 lakhs direct and indirect gainful employment opportunities in fisheries sector and allied activities.
PMMSY is primarily created to fill critical gaps in fish production and productivity, quality, technology, post-harvest infrastructure and management, modernization and strengthening of value chain, traceability, establishing a robust fisheries management framework and fishers’ welfare. The programme foresees various interventions like fishing vessel insurance, support for new/up-gradation of fishing vessels/boats, Bio-toilets, Aquaculture in saline/alkaline areas, Sagar Mitras, FFPOs/Cs, Nucleus Breeding Centres, Fisheries and Aquaculture start-ups, Incubators, Integrated Aqua parks, Integrated coastal fishing villages development, Aquatic Laboratories Network and Extension Services, Traceability, Certification and Accreditation, RAS, Biofloc & Cage Culture, E-Trading/Marketing, Fisheries Management Plans, etc.
The scheme primarily focuses on adopting 'Cluster or Area based approaches' and creation of fisheries clusters through backward and forward linkages. A special focus will be given for employment generation activities like seaweed and ornamental fish cultivation. It emphasizes on interventions for quality brood, seed and feed, concentrating on species diversification, critical infrastructure, and marketing networks etc.
Till now, under the cited scheme, the Department of Fisheries has been offered INR 1723 crores worth of proposals for 21 States/UTs in phase-I. Priority has been accorded for income generating activities under PMMSY.
PMMSY in Bihar predicts an infusion of INR 1390 crore with Central Share of INR 535 crore and the additional fish production target pegged at 3 lakh tons. During the current financial year (2020-21), the Indian government has permitted the proposal of Government of Bihar at a total project cost of INR 107 crore for major components like establishment of Re-circulatory Aquaculture System (RAS), construction of Biofloc ponds for aquaculture, finfish hatcheries, construction of new ponds for aquaculture, Ornamental fish culture units, installation of Cages in reservoirs/wetlands, Ice plants, refrigerated vehicles, motor cycle with ice box, three wheeler with ice box, cycle with ice box, and fish feed plants, etc.
After launching PMMSY scheme, the government is trying to bring ease to farmers now. e-Gopala App is lately launched focusing on the farmers’ requirements. The applicaton is a comprehensive breed improvement marketplace and information portal for direct use of farmers.
At present, there is no digital platform available in the country for farmers managing livestock including buying and selling of disease free germplasm in all forms, availability of quality breeding services (Artificial Insemination, veterinary first aid, vaccination, treatment etc) and guiding farmers for animal nutrition, treatment of animals using appropriate ayurvedic medicine/ethno veterinary medicine. There is no mechanism to send alerts (on due date for vaccination, pregnancy diagnosis, calving etc) and inform farmers about various government schemes and campaigns in the area.
Through this application, the government tries to offer solutions to the farmers on all these aspects.
More than 1.60 crore people earn their livelihood by working in the fisheries sector. According to the Handbook on Fisheries Statistics-2018, there was a cumulative production of 12.59 million metric tonnes in the period 2017-28. Out of which, inland sector accounts for 8.90 million metric tonnes and the marine sector contributes 3.69 million metric tonnes.
At present, India is one of the largest producers of fish across the globe. The country has recorded an average surge of 10.14 per cent in fish production during the period 2017-18. It primarily happened owing to the upward plummet in Inland fisheries of 14.05 per cent.
Over the years, inland fish production has increased significantly from 29 per cent in 1950-51 to 71 per cent in 2017-18. The largest count of inland fish is recorded by Andhra Pradesh and then, followed by Gujarat.
By focusing on this sector, the government is trying to bring a balance in economy. Offering aid to small sectors which serve as the foundation of pyramid, thereby, strengthening medium and top part of the pyramid.