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Day 65 – Q 1.What is ocean based blue economy? What potential does India have on this front? Analyse.

1. What is ocean based blue economy? What potential does India have on this front? Analyse. 

महासागर आधारित नीली अर्थव्यवस्था क्या है? इस मोर्चे पर भारत की क्या क्षमता है? विश्लेषण करें।


Oceans are the world’s single largest ecosystem, covering nearly 3/4th of the earth’s surface, where according to estimates by the Global Ocean Commission, ocean resources contribute five percent of the world’s GDP, secure the jobs of three billion people, and sustain the livelihoods of 350 million. This clearly demonstrates the importance of ocean based economy for humanity.


  • ‘Blue Economy’ (BE) conceptualises the oceans as “shared development spaces”. It is defined by the World Bank as the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihood and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health.”
  • Blue economy is a shift from the old, “brown” business-as-usual development model where oceans are perceived as a means of free resource extraction and waste dumping. This paradigm does not consider the costs of the negative externalities to resource accounting, failing to take into cognisance the costs of environmental damage and ecological imbalance by consumption.
  • The United Nations has recognized the importance of the blue economy and its important role in a sustainable future for the world’s oceans. Sustainable Development Goal 14, aims to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.”
  • Recognizing the great potential of the blue economy, world leaders and scientists united for strategic talks about the future of our oceans at the first Sustainable Blue Economy Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya, in November 2018.
  • The core of Blue economy is to realize socio-economic development and dynamic balance of resources and environment. In their second preparatory meeting summary, The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development acting as the Preparatory Committee highlighted approaches to adopt “blue economy,” and believes it is consistent with the core contents of RIO+20 Summit.
  • There are two elements for the Blue Economy –
    • The first is the necessity of protecting and restoring where needed the existing ocean resource base that already supplies food and livelihoods to billions of people. 
    • The other side of the Blue Economy is where opportunities may exist for enhanced or new sustainable economic activity derived from the ocean.  

In context of India, Blue economy holds great potential as seen from the following points:

  • The Indian Ocean Region is abundant with resources, particularly in the sectors of fisheries, aquaculture, ocean energy, sea-bed mining and minerals, and provides tremendous economic opportunities to develop marine tourism and shipping activities. Commercial and artisanal fisheries sustain the livelihoods of more than 38 million people worldwide.
  • In the Indian Ocean, fish production increased drastically from 861,000 tons in 1950 to 11.5 million tons in 2010. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report states that while other world oceans are nearing their fisheries limit, in certain areas, the Indian Ocean‟s resources have the potential to sustain increased production. 
  • Polymetallic nodules and polymetallic massive sulphides are the two mineral resources of commercial interest to developers in the Indian Ocean.  India had received exclusive rights for the exploration polymetallic nodules in 1987, in the Central Indian Ocean Basin. Since then, it has explored four million square miles and established two mine sites.
  • The Indian Ocean Region is of strategic importance to India’s economic growth as the most of the country’s oil, and gas is imported through the sea. Further, this dependency is expected to rise by 2025 exponentially
  • The Indian Ocean Region presents tremendous trade potential for the country. The countries in the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) exhibited significant dynamism in the past few years as the trade in the region increased by over four times. 
  • Under the Make in India program of the Government, shipbuilding industry can benefit from a major thrust. This industry has a high multiplier effect on investment and can accelerate industrial growth along with its large number of associated industries. 
  • The India Maritime Security Strategy published by the Indian Navy articulates country’s policy in the Indian Ocean region. It states that in the Indian Ocean region, India is committed to Building Indian Ocean Region as a frontier of sustainable economic development.
  • The Sagarmala project, launched by the Ministry of Shipping, is the strategic initiative for port-led development through the extensive use of IT enabled services for modernisation of ports. It tackles the issue of underutilized ports by focussing on port modernization, efficient evacuation, and coastal economic development.


The blue economy can provide a model for people to rethink how they preserve and sustain and improve the biodiverse ocean resources for future generations. It is necessary for India to tap the enormous potential of the Ocean based Blue Economy, which will propel the nation into a higher growth trajectory. The development of Blue Economy can serve as a growth catalyst in realizing the vision to become a $10 trillion economy by 2032. 

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