Blue Economy to be next GDP multiplier: CAG GC Murmu

By Suchitra MukherjeeNew Delhi [India], February 27 (ANI): With a 7,517-km long coastline, the importance of a "Blue Economy" for India can hardly be overemphasised. Already a key component in the government’s Vision for India 2030 to create a modern India, the benefits from a blue economy could be transformative.

Speaking at a seminar on Blue Economy, organised as part of the G20 and SAI (Supreme Audit Institutions) 20, on Monday, the Comptroller General of India (CAG), Girish Chandra Murmu, said India’s blue economy could be the next GDP multiplier.

"India’s Exclusive Economic Zone of over 2 million square km has a bounty of living and non-living resources with significant recoverable resources such as crude oil and natural gas. With these vast maritime interests, the blue economy occupies a vital potential position in India’s economic growth. It could well be the next multiplier of GDP (gross domestic product) and well-being, provided sustainability and socio-economic welfare are kept at centre stage," Murmu said.

"SAIs can scale up their audits, develop study papers on the condition of the Blue Economy and make recommendations on how the governments could direct their efforts and policies for the sustainable development of the Blue Economy of their nations," he added.

With nearly 199 ports, including 12 major ports that handle approximately 1,400 million tonnes of cargo each year, India’s coastal economy sustains over 4 million fishermen and other coastal communities.

Blue Economy is an economic system that encompasses a spectrum of policy and operational dimensions aimed at conserving marine and freshwater environments while promoting their sustainable use, producing food and energy, supporting livelihoods, and acting as a driver for economic advancement and welfare.

With the UN declaring the 2021-2030 period as the decade of ‘Ocean Science for Sustainable Development’, Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) 14, labelled as ‘Life below Water’ occupies primacy in the overall context of a Blue Economy.

"SDG 14 helps to focus attention on the priority area of the Blue Economy," Murmu added.

More than three billion people depend on the ocean for their livelihoods, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Around 80 per cent of the total volume of International trade in goods is carried by sea, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). World Economic Forum, Davos Agenda 2022 recognized the fact that G20 Nations, primarily have 45 per cent of global coastline and jurisdictional responsibility over 21 per cent of the World’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

"Eradicating poverty, from the world, would require realising the full potential of the Blue Economy in all countries, while ensuring a sustainable flow of resources," the CAG added. (ANI)