The government will attempt to include fishing communities in the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana to provide affordable credit to them, Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said here on Friday.
“There are over 10 lakh fishermen on our coasts. If they go fishing beyond 12 nautical miles, permission is required from the Centre… There has been depletion of fish within this limit forcing fishermen to go beyond, which would require better equipment. If fishermen come together in partnership to collect Rs 5 lakh, we will give them subsidy of Rs 12-15 lakh. They will also be given finance to buy trawlers costing Rs 1 crore under the Mudra Yojana,” Gadkari said.
He said this will also include collaborations with the fisheries department and would enhance fisherfolk’s economy 10 times.
On Thursday, fishing communities from Mumbai, Thane and Palghar had agitated at Azad Maidan seeking a ban on purse seine nets. “We were told that the state will take no action if the purse seine nets will be used beyond 12 nautical miles. There is no option left for us but to go beyond 12 miles because the city pollution has ensured no fish are left close to the city. The government should ensure purse seine nets are banned,” said Damodar Tandel, president of Akhil Maharashtra Machhimar Kriti Samiti.
Gadkari, in the city for preparations for the Maritime India Summit, said that other grants-in-aid will also be given to those setting up floating jetties or container jetties on Mumbai’s coast.
He also said that the attempt of the government is to increase port-based development. “To be able to compete in international markets, it is necessary to reduce logistical cost involved in trade and industry in the country. For investors, currently the logistical cost in India is 18 per cent as compared to around 8-10 per cent in China. We are hoping that with port-based development, we bring it down to 12 per cent,” Gadkari said.