[Answered] “Various Coastal states need to play an important role in overall development of ports and inland waterways for sustainable development.” Discuss.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Importance of Coastal states in sustainable development.
Conclusion. Way forward.

Peninsular India is surrounded by water on 3 sides and has a deep network of rivers. The Indian coastline is 7500 km long, distributed along 9 coastal states, 2 groups of islands and 4 union territories. The coastal belt comprises of a wide range of ecosystems extending from beaches and mangroves to coral reefs. These Coastal states can play an important role in overall development of ports and inland waterways for sustainable development.

Value of coastline and waterways:

  1. Fishing industry: Fishing is an important livelihood of the people in India. Besides, seafood is a cheap and nutritional component of their diet, the total commercial marine catch for India account for approximately 30% of all landings.
  2. Tourism: India has a long coastline along the mainland and numerous islands. It has achieved commendable success in Goa and Andaman regarding beach tourism. Beach tourism is an important commercial activity.
  3. Transport: These water bodies are important for logistics and transport that is important for growth of various sectors of economy.
  4. Tidal energy: The energy produced by the periodic rise and fall of ocean water, due to the gravitational force of the moon, sun and earth can be harnessed to produce electricity. Tidal energy could become an important source of energy in future, because it is a renewable resource.
  5. Minerals from the sea: Coal, oil and natural gas can be obtained from under the seabed. Many minerals are also present in sea water. The most common one is salt. India has large reserves of beach sand minerals, such as ilmenite, rutile, zircon, monazite, sillimanite and garnet.

Role of states in development of ports and waterways for sustainable development:

  1. Implementing policies at ground level: States need to play a proactive role in implementing various government policies at local level. Proper implementation can lead to development of Coastal region and providing livelihood to many.
  2. Controlling Coastal Pollution: Pollution changes coastal habitats and destroys fish and other species. The Indian coastline is vulnerable to erosion along the coasts of the western states of Kerala and Karnataka. These states need to play an active role in preventing such issues through regulation and strict implementation of policies to achieve a sustainable growth.
  3. Safeguarding marine eco-system: Indian coasts have a large variety of sensitive eco-systems. E.g. Sand dunes, coral reefs, mangroves, and wetlands. They are nursery of a number of commercially important fish and crustaceans. Ensuring survival of these eco-systems is in the hands of states. These are not only important for environment but also for livelihood of many.
  4. Implementing laws: States need to play the most important role in implementing laws like Coastal zone management, watershed development at local level. Ensuring their transparent implementation is not important only to check corruption but is required for overall development of the region.
  5. Disaster preparedness: State has to play a vital role when it comes to tackle disasters. Disasters destroy valuable lives and property. State must be prepared to act against and minimise damage due to disasters to coasts and community living around. States need to prepare a disaster management guidelines and aware people about what to do during disaster.

India should expedite its efforts to exploit marine resources in India and its Coastal states. What required is the cooperative federalism and active involvement of states. India has rightly launched O-SMART scheme aiming at regulated use of oceans, marine resources for sustainable development in this direction. State need to play a central role in implementing such schemes.

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