01 Feb 2018 19:51 IST

Holy mackerel! Fishing community elated by kisan credit card proposal

The funds can be utilised to enhance basic infrastructure, social safety nets such as insurance and more

The fishery sector gave a thumbs-up to the Budget on the allocation of funds as well as expanding Kisan Credit Cards to fishermen.

The stakeholders maintained that the “move assumes significance in the wake of a collective attempt to usher in the Blue Revolution to meet the growing demand for fish”.

The funds can be utilised to enhance basic infrastructure, social safety nets such as insurance, supply of quality breeding materials, genetically improved fish seeds, etc which can considerably augment the productivity and incomes of small holders in fisheries, A Gopalakrishnan, Director, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute told BusinessLine.

The scheme will benefit the credit-starved emerging entrepreneurs in the area of open sea and coastal cage farming. Extending KCC for fisheries and aquaculture is particularly relevant as the coverage of institutional credit delivery in these sectors is considerably lower compared to crop sector, he said.

A Ramachandran, Vice-Chancellor, Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies, said the investment in the development of the ‘Blue Economy’ will ensure environmental sustainability of the oceans and coastal areas. The Budget allocation will boost the traditional ocean industries such as fisheries, tourism and maritime transport.

Moreover, the conventional economic activity of the ocean and onshore is expected to have a big leap forward including freshwater and brackish water aquaculture, offshore fishing for unutilised fish resources like deep sea tuna and squids, he said.

However, the All Kerala Fishing Boat Owners Association reacted cautiously on expanding KSC facility saying that it requires more clarity especially on meeting fuel expenses of fishing boats. “We need a credit facility to meet fuel expenses and it would be ideal if such costs come under the KSC purview,” Joseph Xavier Kalappurackal, General Secretary of the association, said.