Singapore/New Delhi: The Union Government’s ambitious Sagarmala program has identified 173 projects entailing huge investment of $60 billion (around Rs 4 lakh crore) by 2020, which will create 10 million of jobs. With a coastline of 7500 km and 1200 island territories, India is and always has been a maritime nation, said Union Shipping & Transport Minister Mr Nitin Gadkari while addressing the Indian Ocean Conference in Singapore Today (01 September 2016).
“We want to create a model of port-led development for India through the Sagarmala Port Development Project which will establish new ports and modernise old ones to link our coastal and island territories with the hinterland” informed Mr Gadkari. The Sagarmala Project is based on four pillars: Optimising multi-modal transport to reduce cost of domestic cargo by leveraging inland waterways; minimizing time and cost of export-import cargo logistics; lowering costs for bulk industries by locating them closer to the coast; and Improving export competitiveness by locating discrete manufacturing clusters near ports.
Highlighting the potential of Blue Economy, The Minister reminded “Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi says that Blue Chakra of India’s national flag represents the potential of the Blue Economy and my Ministry is committed to realize its full potential.” India’s central location in the IOR (Indian Ocean Region) has connected India with other cultures, shaped its maritime trade routes and influenced its strategic thought, added he.
Mr Gadkari outlined that all these projects will be completed by 2020 and these will create 10 million new jobs. Further, it will increase the nation’s coastal shipping volumes by five times from the current levels of 60 million tonnes per annum while most importantly Sagarmala Program will also save India close to USD 6 billion in logistics costs every year.
The Shipping & Transport Minister commented “Indian Ocean is critical to the future of the world. Its waters touch the shores of over 40 countries and nearly 40% of the world population. Two-thirds of the world’s oil shipments and one-third of the bulk cargo cross the Indian Ocean. Our future cannot be a zero-sum game.”
The government has identified 173 projects under Sagarmala program with a total outlay of USD 60 billion under the following four archetypes: Port modernization, Port connectivity improvement, Port-led industrial development, and Coastal community development.
Although India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, India is facing a Job Gap syndrome, which is unable create adequate jobs for its youths. Every year nearly 12 million youths enter the labour market against the availability of nearly 2-3 million new jobs. Blue Economy led by Sagarmala project, aimed at creating 10 million jobs by 2020, may provide much needed oxygen to India’s job market.