Kerala Fisheries Minister Mercykutty Amma, who welcomed the recommendations of the draft National Policy on Marine Fisheries, has urged the Narendra Modi Government to set up a separate ministry for fisheries.
Noting that fisheries was a significant part of the coastal economy in nine States and that it provided livelihood to millions of people, she told BusinessLine that an exclusive ministry was necessary for the fisheries sector.
Currently, the fisheries sector is administered by the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries under the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. The policy-drafting committee has not recommended a stand-alone ministry for fisheries. The minister said she totally supported the long-standing demand of the trade unions for a ministry so that sustainable development of marine resources could be better taken care of.
Mercykutty Amma, who took over as the Fisheries Minister in the Pinarayi Vijayan Cabinet hardly a fortnight back, said she was happy that the committee that drafted the national policy on marine fisheries had accepted 13 of the 16 suggestions made by the Kerala Government.
Asked about the State Government’s view about the proposal in the national policy to transfer the subject of fisheries to the Concurrent List of the Constitution from the present States List, Mercykutty Amma said that on the face of it, the proposal seemed to be good. However, she also pointed out that trade unions in the sector were worried that if the proposal was implemented, there would be frequent interferences by the Central Government in the fisheries sector.
The minister wanted the Centre to take immediate steps to transfer the research knowledge available with the various institutions involved in the fisheries sector to the fisher folk. “As of now there is hardly any connect between the valuable scientific knowledge available with the institutions and the fishermen out in the sea,” she noted. “What is the use of such knowledge without its being put into practice and benefiting the fishermen?”
Source : Business Line