Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh has agreed to positively consider the demand that the fisheries sector should be considered on par with agriculture and a consultation will be held with the finance ministry in this regard.
The demand was submitted to the perusal of the Union Minster when a delegation of National Fishworkers Forum (NFF) took up the demand with the minister at meeting held in New Delhi a few days back.
The delegation led by NFF chairperson M Ilango pointed out to the minister that since Fishing was not treated on par with Agriculture, the fishermen communities find it difficult to avail loans from banks to buy boats and other equipments. He added that the fishing community members do not own the kind of property needed to pledge to the banks to get loans.
Even the budget allotment to the fishing sector, which earns exports from fish products fetch Rs 35000 crore in foreign exchange, was meager Rs 575.34 crores, he said.
Ilango said the Agriculture minister has informed the delegation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is taking all steps to solve the issues of arrest, attack of Indian fishermen by Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The fishworkers’ union leader said the Minister also agreed to provide compensation under the Prime Ministers Special package scheme for the owners of 21 boats, seized by the Sri Lankan navy and were left to deteriorate beyond repairable condition.
He informed that the minister will take steps in consultation with the respective State government to close down factories where fish lings (juvenile fish) are used for making fish feed, chicken feed and fertilizers. The NFF leaders had pointed out that the juvenile fish catchers provide these fish lings to factories in Kerala for making the feeds. The NFF demanded that the license of these factories should be cancelled.
On the demand for banning the destructive methods of fishing using Purse Seine, twin trawling, pair trawling and bull trawling, Union Minister Radha Mohan Singh said a final decision on the ban will be made after proper discussion with the State governments concerned.
The ministry has agreed for uniformity in number of days in the fishing ban period for the western coast states and eastern coast states, he revealed.
On the compensation for the ban during the monsoon period, the NFF urged the minister that the savings cum relief scheme, with equal contribution of Central and State, should be raised to Rs 4500 from the current Rs 2700.
The Agriculture minister said he will consult with the Finance Ministry on providing diesel, kerosene for fishing boats of traditional fishers be supplied at coast price.