India endorses Blue Economy in sustainable, people-centric manner: Gadkari

New Delhi: Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday said that ‘Blue Economy’ is very crucial for India’s economic development, adding that India endorses the growth of the Blue Economy in a sustainable, inclusive and people-centric manner through the framework of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

The Union Minister left for Nairobi today to attend the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference being organised by Kenya, with Canada and Japan as co-hosts. Gadkari will address the conference on November 28.

“This conference is going to give a new vision for the development of inland waterways and coastal shipping and will also give a boost to the ‘Blue Economy’ particularly around India’s seas,” Gadkari said.

He said that India is developing its maritime infrastructure as well as its inland waterways and coastal shipping through the launch of the ambitious ‘Sagarmala’ programme which will revolutionise maritime logistics and port-led developments in the country. The Minister further stated that India’s national vision about the maritime sector is clearly articulated in the term ‘SAGAR’, a term coined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that stands for ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region’.

Sagarmala programme has identified over 600 projects, entailing a huge investment of around Rs. 8 lakh crore (120 billion dollars) by the year 2020. “This will save the country nearly USD 6 billion per annum in logistics costs besides creating 10 million new jobs and boosting port capacity by 800 Million Metric Tonne per Annum (MMTPA) to an overall 3500 MMTPA,” an official statement said.

Gadkari informed that Coastal Economic Zones (CEZs) will be developed under the Sagarmala programme, with a proposed investment of USD 150 million per location. He said that the CEZs will become a microcosm of the blue economy, wherein, industries and townships that depend on the sea and contribute to global trade through sea connectivity are envisaged.