Blue Economy

Blue Economy

In the news

The recent presentation of the Interim Budget by the Finance Minister highlighted a focus on environmentally sustainable development by emphasizing the promotion of the 'blue economy' to boost aquaculture.

What is the Blue Economy?

  • Blue Economy refers to an economic paradigm that prioritizes the preservation and regeneration of the marine environment while simultaneously fostering sustainable human growth and development. 
  • Coined by Gunter Pauli in "The Blue Economy: 10 years, 100 innovations, 100 million jobs," this concept emphasizes the synergy between economic activities and marine ecosystem health.
  • The World Bank defines blue economy as the sustainable utilization of ocean resources for economic growth, job creation, and improved livelihoods, emphasizing ocean ecosystem preservation.
  • The blue economy encompasses a range of activities geared towards sustainable ocean resource utilization, contributing to improved livelihoods, economic development, and job creation while ensuring the health of ocean ecosystems.

Blue Economy Countries

  • Denmark, Norway, and India are notable examples. 
    • India, through its Sagarmala Project and O-SMART scheme, aims to develop a robust blue economy by 2030.

Pillars of Blue Economy

  • Encompass fisheries, aquaculture, maritime shipping, renewable ocean energy, coastal tourism, and marine biotechnology.

Key Aspects of Blue Economy

  • Preserving Marine Health: In a blue economy, equal emphasis is placed on conserving marine ecosystems alongside fostering human growth.
  • Marine Trade and Opportunities: The concept includes boosting marine trade and exploring diverse economic opportunities within the maritime domain.
  • Diversified Sectors: A blue economy extends its scope to various sectors, including tourism, renewable energy, fisheries, and more.

Features of Blue Economy

  • Renewable Energy: Utilizing sustainable marine energy resources to produce renewable energy.
  • Tourism Enhancement: Promoting ocean and coastal tourism for economic growth and job creation.
  • Carbon Sink: Recognizing oceans as vital carbon sinks, mitigating the effects of climate change.
  • Maritime Transport: Anticipating growth in maritime transport for international trade.
  • Waste Management: Emphasizing better waste management on land to enhance ocean health.

Areas of Focus for Blue Economy Development

  • Renewable Ocean Energy: Harnessing renewable energy from oceans.
  • Fisheries and Aquaculture: Developing sustainable practices in fisheries and aquaculture.
  • Seaports and Shipping: Building and enhancing maritime infrastructure.
  • Marine Biotechnology: Investing in research and development in marine biotechnology.
  • Marine Tourism: Promoting marine and cruise tourism.
  • Offshore Hydrocarbons and Seabed Minerals: Exploring offshore resources for economic gains.
  • Sustainable Tourism: Developing sustainable whale and dolphin watching tourism.

Importance of Blue Economy

  • Global Coverage: Oceans cover 75% of Earth's surface, holding 97% of the planet's water and 99% of its living area.
  • Economic Contribution: Oceans contribute 3-5% to the world's GDP, making the blue economy crucial for maritime sector growth.
  • Biodiversity Maintenance: Oceans play a key role in maintaining biodiversity and regulating the planet's temperature.
  • Economic Growth Potential: Sustainable use of oceans opens avenues for income generation, boosting economic growth.

Blue Economy 2.0

  • Visionary Initiative: Blue Economy 2.0 emerges as a visionary initiative aimed at championing climate-resilient activities and fostering sustainable development along India's coastal regions.
  • Unprecedented Threats: Marine ecosystems confront unprecedented threats from climate change, pollution, and overexploitation, underscoring the imperative for coordinated action to safeguard ocean resources.
  • Integrated Approach: Embracing an integrated and multi-sectoral approach, Blue Economy 2.0 underscores the interconnectedness of diverse sectors, emphasizing the need for concerted action spanning governmental entities, industries, and civil society.
  • Priority on Aquaculture Expansion: Blue Economy 2.0 prioritizes the expansion of coastal aquaculture and mariculture, recognizing their pivotal role in meeting escalating demands for seafood consumption while alleviating pressure on dwindling wild fish stocks.
  • Advocating Sustainable Practices: By advocating for sustainable aquaculture practices and fostering synergies with burgeoning sectors like tourism and renewable energy, the scheme seeks to engender economic opportunities for coastal communities while safeguarding the long-term viability of marine resources.
  • Focus on Restoration and Adaptation: At the heart of the scheme lies a concerted effort towards restoration and adaptation, envisioning the rejuvenation of degraded coastal ecosystems and the implementation of robust adaptation strategies to mitigate the impacts of rising sea levels and extreme weather events.
  • Significance for Biodiversity and Communities: These endeavors are pivotal for preserving biodiversity, fortifying coastal communities against environmental hazards, and upholding the invaluable ecosystem services rendered by marine habitats.

Significance of Blue Economy 2.0

  • Boosting Aquaculture: The initiative heralds a concerted endeavor to augment the country's aquaculture prowess, epitomized by the cultivation of aquatic organisms in controlled aquatic environments for commercial purposes, thereby fortifying India's foothold in the domain of aquafarming.
  • Advancing Maritime Blue Economy: Blue Economy 2.0 serves as a blueprint for advancing India's extant initiatives aimed at harnessing the potential of the maritime blue economy, heralding a new era of sustainable maritime development.
  • Broader Socio-Economic Impacts: Beyond maritime realms, the paradigm of Blue Economy 2.0 reverberates across diverse domains encompassing poverty alleviation, climate resilience, employment generation, food security, and maritime cooperation, underscoring its transformative potential in reshaping socio-economic landscapes. 

Blue Economy in India

India's commitment to the blue economy is evident in initiatives like the Sagarmala Project, focusing on inland waterways and coastal shipping for job creation and reduced logistics costs. The O-SMART scheme promotes sustained resource development.

Significance for India

  • Huge Coastline: India's extensive 7,517-kilometre-long coastline, encompassing nine coastal states and 1,382 islands, highlights the significant potential of the blue economy.
  • Strategic Position on Sea Lines of Trade: With nearly 199 ports, including 12 major ports, handling around 1,400 million tons of cargo annually, India holds a strategic position on major sea lines of trade.
  • Large Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ): India's EEZ of over 2 million square kilometers offers abundant living and non-living resources, including significant recoverable resources like crude oil and natural gas.
  • Livelihood Support: The coastal economy sustains over 4 million fisherfolk and coastal communities, contributing to their livelihoods.
  • Economic and Trade Potential: The Indian Ocean Region presents economic opportunities in fisheries, aquaculture, ocean energy, sea-bed mining, and minerals, fostering marine tourism and shipping activities.
  • Natural Resources: The Indian Ocean hosts polymetallic nodules and polymetallic massive sulfides, serving as valuable mineral resources for developers.

Challenges for India

  • Overexploitation of Resources: Unsustainable fishing practices, pollution, and habitat destruction threaten marine biodiversity and ecosystem health.
  • Climate Change: Rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and extreme weather events disrupt coastal communities and marine ecosystems.
  • Pollution: Untreated sewage, industrial waste, and plastic pollution contaminate coastal waters, impacting human health and marine life.
  • Lack of Infrastructure: Inadequate port facilities, cold storage, and transportation networks limit efficient utilization of marine resources.
  • Limited Investment: Insufficient funding for research, innovation, and sustainable technology development hampers growth.
  • Skill Gap: Lack of skilled professionals in marine engineering, aquaculture, and ocean governance impedes development.
  • Livelihood Dependence: Traditional fishing communities face challenges due to resource depletion and competition from large-scale fishing.
  • Coastal Erosion and Displacement: Rising sea levels and extreme weather events displace coastal communities and disrupt livelihoods.
  • Equity and Access: Equitable distribution of benefits from the blue economy remains a concern, particularly for marginalized communities.
  • Policy and Regulation: Ineffective regulations and enforcement hinder sustainable practices and combat illegal activities like illegal fishing.
  • Institutional Coordination: Lack of coordination between different government agencies responsible for managing marine resources creates hurdles.

Government Initiatives

Draft Policy (2022)

    • A draft policy framework has been prepared, envisioning the sustainable utilization of living and non-living resources, tourism, ocean energy, etc. 
    • Key recommendations: Include National Accounting Framework for Blue Economy, Ocean Governance, Coastal Marine Spatial Planning, and Tourism Priority, among others.
    • Purpose: The Ministry of Earth Sciences is finalizing the National Policy on Blue Economy to optimize the utilization of all sectors of the maritime domain for sustainable development of coastal areas.
  • Proposes a National Accounting Framework for Blue Economy, Coastal Marine Spatial Planning, and Tourism Priority.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: The draft policy document was circulated for comments and feedback from the general public and stakeholders. Valuable inputs were received from ministries, parliament members, NGOs, industry representatives, and the public, which were considered in the revised policy document.
  • National Blue Economy Advisory Council (BEAC): The proposed BEAC will comprise Secretaries of relevant Ministries/Departments, Chief Secretaries/Principal Secretaries of Coastal States, and industry representatives. It aims to provide strategic guidance on blue economy initiatives.

Swachh Sagar, Surakshit Sagar Campaign

  • The 'Swachh Sagar, Surakshit Sagar' campaign focuses on coastal cleanliness and safety. 
  • It is a 75-day coastal clean-up initiative aiming to clean at least 75 beaches along coastal districts, culminating on International Coastal CleanUp Day.
  • Organizers: The campaign is organized jointly by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Indian Coast Guard, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, NDMA, Paryavaran Sanrakshan Gatividhi, and Government Departments, along with volunteer organizations, the public, and students.
  • Activities: The campaign involves awareness campaigns, competitions, workshops, and seminars on environmental issues in schools, colleges, and universities, coordinated with events such as Earth Day and Ocean Day.

Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Program

  • ICZM is a process aimed at promoting the security of life and livelihoods of coastal communities, protecting coastal ecosystems, and fostering sustainable development along coastlines.
  • Aims at balancing economic development with environmental conservation in coastal regions.
  • Significance: The ICZM Plan serves as a planning tool for development bodies and administrators in West Bengal's coastal areas, facilitating the design of suitable interventions for economic development while ensuring coastal sustainability.
  • Approach: ICZM adopts an integrated approach that recognizes the interrelationships among coastal and ocean uses and their potential environmental impacts. It aims to overcome fragmentation in management approaches and jurisdictional splits by considering limited space for competing resources and incorporating environmental and social concerns into developmental activities.

ICZM Plan for Selected Stretches of West Bengal

  • Geographical Focus: The ICZM plan targets two coastal stretches in West Bengal: 
    • Digha-Sankarpur in Purba Medinipur district
    • Sagar Island in South 24 Parganas district
  • Coastal Dynamics: West Bengal's coast is characterized by the presence of the Ganges and Sundarban delta, presenting complex coastal ecology, livelihoods, and development challenges.
  • Plan Development: The ICZM plan, a study and planning initiative under the World Bank-assisted Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Project, is based on a coastal sediment cell approach. It integrates coastal features, ecosystem integrity, community needs, economic potential, and governance schemes.

Key Recommendations

  • Environmental Sustainability: Recommends environmentally sustainable development schemes/projects in accordance with coastal laws and regulations.
  • Disaster Management: Emphasizes the importance of ensuring the physical safety of coastal areas, including disaster management measures.
  • Biodiversity Conservation: Advocates for conserving biodiversity and implementing marine spatial planning initiatives.
  • Livelihood Support: Supports livelihoods of coastal communities through appropriate interventions.
  • Water Conservation and Waste Management: Addresses water conservation and waste management concerns to promote sustainable practices.

Sagarmala Project 

  • It is the flagship Central Sector Scheme of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways aimed at promoting port-led development in India. 
  • It focuses on leveraging the country's extensive coastline, navigable waterways, and strategic maritime location to boost economic growth.
    • Also focuses on port modernization, coastal infrastructure development, and maritime connectivity.
  • It covers projects related to port infrastructure, coastal berths, road and rail connectivity, fish harbors, skill development, coastal community development, cruise terminals, Ro-Pax ferry services, etc.
  • Financial Assistance: The Ministry provides financial assistance to state governments for implementing various projects under the Sagarmala Scheme, including those related to port infrastructure, coastal development, and connectivity enhancement.

Projects and Initiatives

  • Port Modernization: Projects aimed at modernizing and upgrading port facilities to enhance efficiency and capacity.
  • Connectivity Enhancement: Initiatives to improve road and rail connectivity between ports and production/consumption centers, identified through the Comprehensive Port Connectivity Plan (CPCP).
  • National Technology Centre: The establishment of the National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways, and Coasts (NTCWPC) at IIT Chennai, serving as the technological arm of the Ministry. It focuses on developing advanced technologies and solutions to address challenges in the ports and shipping sector.

Key Achievements

  • NTCPWC: The establishment of the National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways, and Coasts (NTCPWC) at IIT Chennai, representing a significant investment of Rs. 77 Crore. 
    • This institute plays a crucial role in developing cutting-edge technologies and solutions for the ports and shipping sector.
  • CPCP: Through consultations with major ports, state maritime boards, and relevant ministries, 107 road and rail connectivity infrastructure gaps have been identified under the Comprehensive Port Connectivity Plan (CPCP). 
    • These projects aim to enhance connectivity between ports and domestic production/consumption centers, thereby boosting trade and economic growth.

Deep Ocean Mission

  • Launched date: October, 2021
  • It is a central sector scheme
  • It promotes research and exploration of the deep sea for sustainable resource usage.
  • Aim: To support India's Blue Economy Initiatives, with the overarching goal of achieving over Rs. 100 billion in economic output through sustainable use of ocean resources.
  • Implementation: The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is the nodal ministry for implementing this mission, which will be executed in a phase-wise manner over five years.
  • Budget Allocation: The overall estimated cost of the Deep Ocean Mission is Rs. 4077 crores for the period of five years (2021-2026).
    • The Union Budget 2022-23 allocates Rs. 650 crore for the Deep Ocean Mission, marking a significant increase from the previous year's allocation of Rs. 150 crores. 
    • The Ministry of Earth Sciences' budget has more than doubled, reaching Rs. 2653.51 crore in 2022-23, compared to Rs. 1281 crore in 2013-14.
    • For the first phase (2021-2024), the estimated cost is Rs. 2823.4 crore.

Major Objectives

  • To address issues arising from long-term changes in the ocean due to climate change.
  • Develop technologies for exploring both living (biodiversity) and non-living (minerals) resources in deep-sea environments.
  • Focus on developing underwater vehicles and robotics to facilitate exploration and research in deep-sea environments.
  • Provide advisory services related to ocean climate change to aid in decision-making processes.
  • Identify technological innovations and conservation methods for sustainable utilization of marine bioresources.
  • Develop offshore-based desalination techniques to provide clean drinking water and explore avenues for extracting minerals from ocean belts.
  • Explore and develop techniques for generating renewable energy from ocean resources.


  • An autonomous regional satellite navigation system that offers precise position information to users in India and the region up to 1500 km from its boundary.
  • NavIC, formerly known as the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).
  • NavIC offers two services in the L5 and S bands, covering India and a region up to 1500 km beyond its boundary.
  • Standard Position Service (SPS) for civilian users and 
  • Restricted Service (RS) for strategic users
  • The system consists of seven active satellites, three in geostationary orbit and four in inclined geosynchronous orbit
  • Applications: In transportation, location-based services, personal mobility, resource monitoring, surveying, geodesy, scientific research, time dissemination, and safety-of-life alert dissemination.
  • Significance: India can boost revenue through competition among navigation services, reduce reliance on imports, and integrate NAVIC with GAGAN for improved navigational precision.

Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)

  • Collaborates on Blue Economy projects such as sustainable fisheries management and marine pollution control.
  • It is a regional cooperation initiative of the Indian Ocean Rim countries
  • was established in Mauritius in March 1997.
  • It aims of promoting economic and technical cooperation
  • The Secretariat is located at Port Louis, Mauritius.


Currently, IORA has 23 Member States and 11 Dialogue Partners.

Priorities and Focus Areas

  • Maritime Safety and Security
  • Trade and Investment
  • Fisheries Management
  • Disaster Risk
  • Tourism and Cultural Exchange
  • Academic, science and Technolgy Cooperation
  • Blue Economy
  • Women’s Economic Empowerment


In the crucible of Blue Economy 2.0, India embarks on a transformative journey towards nurturing climate-resilient coastal development and championing sustainable marine practices. As the nation forges ahead on this trajectory, guided by the principles of stewardship and collaboration, it paves the way for a maritime renaissance characterized by harmony between human endeavors and ecological imperatives.

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