The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that farmers were critical for the well-being of the nation and they play a huge role in ensuring and maintaining home grown food security in India. He was delivering the keynote address at the annual event 'Connect Karo', organized by the WRI India, here today.

The Vice President said that collective actions were needed to correct development strategies to include preservation of nature. Talking about the serious impacts of Climate change, he opined that it was necessary that government, people and the private sector join hands to restore the balance that had wittingly and unwittingly disturbed.

Opining that everybody has stakes in the survival of the civilization, Shri Naidu called for constructive people’s movement on initiatives such as tree plantations, keeping surroundings neat and clean, educating the women and girl child, changing lifestyles to avoid the disease burden and others to correct the maladies in our society and to make our civilization environmentally sustainable. School children must be taught about the importance protecting and preserving the nature right from their school days, he added.

The Vice President said that increase in urbanization, cutting of forests, rise in energy consumption by way of increased use of cars, electricity, and others have led to indiscriminate use of resources across the globe and accelerated climate change. To arrest such trends, he advised for judicious and sensible use of natural resources and consciously adopt a low carbon growth path, without compromising on our economic development. 

Shri Naidu said that in the Indian context, the cultural traditions of worshipping nature can provide additional inspiration for concrete, accelerated action. We should love and live with nature and preserve nature and culture for a better future, he added.

The Vice President stressed upon the need to take steps to make agriculture more remunerative and sustainable. In order to increase farmer’s income, we have to enhance their access to markets and equipped them to produce adequate quantity of nutritious food to ensure home grown food security, he added.

Shri Naidu called for efforts from scientists, agriculturalists and the policy makers to see that land resources were used efficiently by reducing intensity of harnessing vital natural resources like land and water for producing per unit of nutrition. Constructive debate must take place on the rise and impact of population and its growth based on the availability of resources and its impact on environment, he added.

Saying that India’s commitment towards renewable energy sources had led to the setting up of the International Solar Alliance, the Vice President said that the sector has the potential to create new jobs for men and women across India, contributing to the overall GDP of the country even as we find solutions for complex problems of clean energy. He also called for the urgent need to take systematic measures to improve air quality as it adversely impact the health and well-being of city residents, especially our children.

The Vice President said that climate change was the most common challenge faced by the world and said that the best way to face the challenges of climate change was to be friendly with nature and live in harmony with it. Nature culture together for better future, he added.

 

Following is the text of Vice President’s address:

“Today, as we gather on this platform, we are looking at one of the major problems facing the world today.  We are all together fighting the common challenge of climate change that threatens our planet. And as we brace ourselves to cope with this challenge, we will have to marshal all our intelligence, knowledge, science and understanding of nature to do that.

Climate change is upon us.

But we must admit, it has given us ample warnings.

Across the world, weather related disasters have been increasing in frequency and intensity.From wildfires to hurricanes, droughts, flash floods, the world has been ravaged by natural calamities all through last year.

India has had its own share of disasters. In 2018 alone, Kerala saw the worst floods in 100 years;in North India, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and a few other states, were hit by a massive dust storm; and in Maharashtra, several districts suffered severe drought even as Mumbai experienced erratic rainfall throughout the monsoon months – from two deluges in June and July to almost no rainfall in August and September. There were many others.

In view of India’s high population density, any disaster in India impacts many more people than it does in other parts of the world. We know that India is going to become the most populous country in the world within the next generation. More than half our population will live in cities by then. Delhi will become the most populous city in the world, overtaking Tokyo.

Even as our population grows, our economy is also growing. India is set to become the third largest economy in the world.

As incomes grow, people legitimately want better lifestyles. They want bigger houses, more cars, more air-conditioning, more energy and bigger offices.  But, this also means more urbanization, more energy consumption, more carbon emissions, more waste generation, more air pollution and a higher demand for land.

All of these will accelerate climate change, unless we are careful and consciously adopt a low carbon growth path, without, in any way, compromising on our economic development. It is, therefore, imperative that we use our natural resources sensibly.

This is possible and several countries, which also have limited natural resources, have shown that it is possible to chart out a low carbon path. We must learn to maximize our resources and not be wasteful in our behavior.

Having said this, let me dwell on a few important challenges that India is facing and what we are doing to deal with them.

The country is seeing a rapid demographic transformation. Urbanization is taking place rapidly. From just 62 million people in 1951, our cities had over 377 million people in 2011, as per our last census. The share of the urban population went up from 17.3% in 1951 to 31.2% in 2011. Today, we understand that it has risen even further - to 34 % according to the UN - and predictions are that it will exceed 35 % by the next Census year 2021.

While this is a good sign and a manifestation of our shift from being a predominantly agricultural economy to a manufacturing and service sector economy, it also means a need to invest in our cities.

Studies have shown that we need to invest over Rs. 34 lakh crores in our urban infrastructure in the next 20 years. However, the public budget cannot afford this and resources have to come from other sources.

The private sector will need to invest in a big way. Private capital has to be tapped by making our investments bankable. The limited public funds have to be leveraged for this. The smart cities mission launched by the government seeks to do precisely this.

A growing urban population, along with growing income, has led to rapid motorization. This has meant severe congestion that adversely impacts the economic efficiency of our cities. It has also led to poor air quality and an increasing incidence of road accident deaths. Unfortunately, we are seeing nearly 400 road accidents deaths every day, causing untold misery to those who lose their near and dear ones.

The government has been according high priority to investments in public transport systems, including metro rail systems. These need to be planned well and as part of a comprehensive mobility plan. Stand-alone metro systems are not effective and need a holistic approach.

Globally, the mobility sector is also witnessing several new paradigms. Shared mobility systems, electric vehicles, bicycles and connected vehicles are beginning to occupy center stage in the global mobility systems. These are welcome changes and will have the impact of reducing traffic congestion, cleaning up the air and reducing the need for parking space. We have to leverage these changes and mainstream them into India’s mobility planning.  We have to also focus more on the Inland Water transportation and utilize the vast river resources we have in our country.

Let me now turn to our electricity sector. Today we can rightfully say that the era of shortages in electricity is gone. We are producing enough electricity today. However, we do have the challenge of distribution. Electricity needs to reach the remotest of homes and this has been problematic. Over 200 million people have extremely poor access to electricity. India, like most other countries of the world, has invested in a big way in coal-based thermal power. Coal fired power is expensive, unsustainable, highly water intensive and contributes to massive air and water pollution.

It is imperative that we enhance the share of the electricity we generate from cleaner sources like wind and solar.

We have taken up an ambitious program to enhance our solar energy capacity.

In the 2015 Paris Agreement, India made an ambitious commitment that by 2030 about 40 per cent of the nation’s installed energy capacity would be from ‘non-fossil fuel’ sources.

Our commitment towards renewable energy sources has led to the setting up of the International Solar Alliance, the first treaty based international inter-governmental organization headquartered in India.

India’s installed solar generation capacity has grown over 10 times in the last five years.  Today, this sector is creating new jobs for men and women across India, contributing to the overall GDP of the country even as we find solutions for complex problems of clean energy.

Our air quality has been a matter of concern. Every winter many parts of the country face ambient air quality that is extremely poor. This cannot be allowed to go on. We need to systematically identify the sources of the problem and deal with them. Otherwise this will adversely impact the health and well-being of city residents, especially our children.

Let me now turn to our food systems. Our farmers are critical to our well-being as a nation, as they feed us. We must not forget that farmers are the lifeline of urban India. The wellbeing of our hard-working farmers, plays a huge role in ensuring and maintaining home grown food security in India. Agriculture must become more remunerative and sustainable. In order to increase farmer’s income, we have to enhance their access to markets. Schemes like E-NAM should be expanded to cover entire country. 

As our numbers grow, we will need more food, and our farmers will have to be equipped to produce it in adequate quantity. We need to  ensure home grown food security.

Our land area is already limited, as I have mentioned earlier. So, we have to produce more from the same land. This can only happen if we use our land resources efficiently.

This will mean better cropping practices like “ Per Drop More Crop”and reduced waste in the movement of food from the “farm to the fork”. The objective is to reduce intensity of harnessing vital natural resources like land and water for producing per unit of nutrition. Perhaps, what we should measure is not the tons of paddy produced per hectare, but the units of nutrition produced per hectare.

Greater tree cover can improve the use of dry and degraded land and also remove carbon from the atmosphere. It is for this reason that we have committed to restore 13 million hectares of degraded landby 2020 and an additional 8 millionhectares by 2030. We have also committed to sequester 2.5 – 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by improving our tree cover.

Many of the challenges we face today need innovative solutions. Business as usual will not work.

As a means to promote innovations and encourage young innovators, the government has opened its doors to startups through platforms like Standup India, Startup India, Digital India, etc., which will bring smart initiatives on a level platform and encourage innovations.

I am glad that there is a growing recognition of the contribution that small businesses and startups can make towards addressing climate change and promoting sustainable development. I am also happy that special benefits and incentives are being given to startups today.

We need to build 1.8 million affordable houses by 2022. The time is short and funds are limited. We also want to use clean technologies. With a view to bring in new technologies the Government has taken up a global housing construction technology challenge, to get the best technologies around the world – technologies that are clean, cheap and allow quicker construction.

I am delighted to learn that WRI India has been a knowledge partner to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in this.

I am also delighted to learn that WRI India has contributed to seeking innovative solutions for last-mile connectivity to metro rail stations and to promoting better bus systems. These will prove extremely useful.

I am told that WRI India has also been working with the Governments of Maharashtra and Haryana towards promoting safety in transport systems. I compliment them for these efforts. These are examples of how we can all work together towards a sustainable future.

Our lofty goals will compel us to carve a path that is both innovative and holistic at the same time. Innovative, because it will be making a major departure from the profit-at-any-cost developmental model we are used to. Holistic, because it will set an example by building a circular economy based on reducing waste, recycling, reusing and respecting our natural resources.

Beyond Public-Private binary in our discourse, we should strive to build Public-Private Partnership where both the sectors bring synergy in their respective strengths to bring about public welfare through innovative private enterprise.

We are poised to become a five trillion dollar economy by 2024. Our sights are higher - to become a 10 trillion dollar economy in eight years thereafter.

I am hopeful and confident that, with a wise and stable approach, we can support our burgeoning urban and rural population -- to live well and with dignity, with access to safe and affordable living spaces, clean air, water, healthy and nutritious food, well-networked and equitable transport. We will also strive to make India pollution free again.

Climate change is threatening us, but it has also brought many of us together, those who sincerely care about it.

That is why events like WRI India’s Connect Karo, which strive to bring together a variety of stakeholders on the same platform, are of great value today. It brings us together in the true sense – a single connected nation, society, and world.

It is also an opportunity for us to restore the balance we had wittingly and unwittingly disturbed.

We should probably say “Correct Karo” in addition to “Connect Karo” so that we collectively correct our development strategies to include preservation of nature. 

In the Indian context, the cultural traditions of worshipping nature can provide additional inspiration for concrete, accelerated action. We should love and live with nature. Preserve Nature and culture for a better future.

We need to ameliorate certain unwarranted bye-products of our energy-intensive civilization. We all have stakes in the survival of our civilization. It is a task which cannot be done by the Governments alone. It will be my earnest appeal to help create people’s movement for Swachh Bharat, for Tree Plantation, for Per Drop More Crop and for the sake of our daughter Beti Bachao Beti Padhao. Government programmes can supplement but not substitute constructive people’s movement to correct the maladies in our society and to make our civilization environmentally sustainable. Each one of us have stake in the success of these programmes. Each one of us have a stake in a better brighter future. 

We have a huge task ahead of us.  I am glad that WRI is taking the initiative to connect all the stakeholders and move forward towards concrete action.

I wish you all the best and echo the collaborative approach ancient sages of India had envisaged when they said, “Let us move and work together, let us share a meal together, let us acquire knowledge together and let us put our knowledge to good use”.

Jai Hind!

***

AKT/BK/MS/RK

 

Read more: Farmers are critical for the well-being of the...

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has called for a faster and more inclusive growth. He said that knowledge is going to be the driver of the growth of Indian Economy and will play a vital role in improving the living conditions of the people. He called upon Indian Universities to rise to the occasion and reorient its higher education system to be globally competitive and to realign their research goals to meet real challenges that India faces.

He was addressing the 16th Convocation of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, established by the Reserve Bank of India, in Mumbai today. He applauded the Institute for having established itself as one of the excellent centers of higher learning and as an influential center of discourse on national and global development concerns. The Vice President gave away degrees to 43 graduating students and presented one gold medal for excellence.

On the occasion, the Vice President spoke about growth and development and highlighted the rapid economic progress and fiscal consolidation that India had undergone.  Shri Naidu said that an emerging economy like India would constantly bring in new laws and regulations at par with international best practices. He observed that tax reforms were slowly increasing India’s tax base and shifting the social norms from one where it was alright to avoid taxes to one where the majority is willing to pay.

The Vice President opined that India’s demographic dividend was an opportunity and a challenge. He said that finding jobs for 12 million young people entering the labor force each year and millions transferring out of low productivity agricultural jobs is a major and continuing task. 

Shri Naidu stressed that education is not only for employment, but also to empower the individual with knowledge and wisdom to sift the wheat from the chaff. ‘Access to quality education for all and at all levels is equally essential to ensure inclusive growth and prevent any kind of discrimination’, he added.

The Vice President emphasized that it was time for India to once again emerge as the global knowledge hub. He called upon the seats of learning, especially the universities, to reinvent themselves as hubs of vibrant intellectual pursuit with academic excellence and social relevance as the key touchstones of success. The Vice President also opined that our system of education and skill-training needs to respond to the demands of industry and services sector.

Touching upon agriculture and its importance in Indian economy, the Vice President said that we must not hesitate to introduce a number of structural changes in our agricultural sector to make it profitable. He highlighted initiatives like National Agricultural Market or e-Nam and spoke of the need to diversify crops further and increase the coverage of crop insurance.

Shri Naidu spoke of the need to augment our social infrastructure such as primary education, health care etc. Referring to Former President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s dream of providing urban amenities in rural areas, he said that we have to aspire to provide amenities like drinking water, street lights, education, healthcare and telecom services to the country’s rural areas, bringing them at par with urban areas in terms of ease of living and working.

The Vice President said that India has to reach out to other countries to access cost-effective technology, investment, and energy to manage its domestic challenges. He called for appropriate economic and foreign policies to navigate through this emerging and uncertain landscape.

Shri Naidu urged scientists, technologists and engineers to keep abreast of the developments and absorb new technologies as they occur. He reasoned that this absorption is necessary for our progress in a fast integrating world. ‘We must identify areas and spheres where we have comparative advantage and push ahead’, he emphasized.

He urged the graduating students to learn to preserve the best of traditional values, shun negativism, develop a positive attitude and be socially conscious, peace loving and empathetic.  ‘Develop a constructive attitude and focus more on achieving perfection in whatever you do’, he said.

The Director of Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Dr. S. Mahendra Dev, the Dean, Dr. Jayati Sarkar and others dignitaries were present on the occasion.

 

Following is the text of Vice President’s address:

 

I deem it a matter of great privilege to be invited to address the 16th Convocation of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research. Over its life of over three decades, the Institute has established itself as one of the excellent centres of higher learning. The Institute has emerged as an influential centre of discourse on national and global development concerns. Under the able leadership of its present Director Professor Mahendra Dev, the Institute has not only continued to build further on its initial strength but has added more dimensions.

Addressing such a learned gathering as we have today, I would like dwell upon a few thoughts on some of the issues pertaining to Indian economy.

Accelerated economic growth has been a major factor bringing down Indian poverty ratios, which were above 50 % in the 1960s. In 2011, after a series of global shocks, India’s macro economy was fragile, with a depreciating rupee, widening current account deficit, and high food inflation. Policy actions since helped improve these fundamentals.

A path of fiscal consolidation and implicit flexible inflation forecast targeting was adopted in 2014. Be it in the overall macro-economic context or specifically in finance, an emerging economy like India is constantly bringing in new laws and regulations at par with international best practices.

Tax reform is slowly increasing India’s tax base and shifting the social norms from one where it was alright to avoid taxes to one where the majority is willing to pay. Incentives are also working in that direction.

Looking ahead, for India to be a USD ten trillion-dollar economy in 2030 its real rate of growth must be at least 7% per annum. If we can achieve this, we will shift firmly from the World Bank’s lower income group to the upper-middle income group, which starts at a per capita income of USD 3856.

India has to grow out of many bottlenecks including inadequate public services, congestion and pollution, issues in health and education, bottlenecks in land, labour and financial markets etc. An arduous path lies in front of us.

For us to move to this growth path, we need to focus on research, innovation, sincere implementation and constant monitoring by following reform path.

An economy in transition should be one which is innovating. New technologies that leverage youthful skills and reduce prices to target low income masses can give India a special advantage. Aadhar and GST give one of the world’s largest data base that can be used for various innovations including in fintech. Internet based businesses including retail will be a major source of innovations given India’s large consumer base. Shifting to renewable energy sources and environment friendly technologies will be another.

India’s demographic dividend is an opportunity and a challenge.

By 2020 its estimated average age of 29 will be among the lowest in the world.

But finding jobs for 12 million young people entering the labour force each year, and millions transferring out of low productivity agricultural jobs is a major and continuing task.  

In order to achieve the demographic dividend, some of the challenges for the country include improving healthcare, improving education facilities, skill development, developing good quality and low-cost housing, investment in physical infrastructure and and promoting small and medium enterprises while bolstering larger enterprises with global reach.

Please remember that knowledge is going to be the driver of Indian Economy and will play a vital role in improving the living conditions of the people. Therefore, India must rise to the occasion and reorient its higher education system to be globally competitive.

The education system should be reoriented by moving away from the colonial mindset and teach history in an objective manner as it actually unfolded, the richness of ancient civilization, culture and heritage and instill the values of nationalism among the students.

Education is not only for employment. It should empower the individual with knowledge and wisdom to sift the wheat from the chaff. Access to quality education for all and at all levels is equally essential to ensure inclusive growth and prevent any kind of discrimination.

I would like to emphasize that the time has come for India to once again emerge as the global knowledge hub. For that to happen, the seats of learning, especially the universities, must reinvent themselves as hubs of vibrant intellectual pursuit with academic excellence and social relevance as the key touchstones of success.

India’s development trajectory thus far stands out among other countries in that the economy has transformed from being predominantly agricultural in 1947 to being services dominated, largely bypassing the phase of rapid industrialization that other high income countries witnessed during their own development.

While agriculture now accounts for less than a fifth of GDP, it still remains the main source of employment for nearly half the labour force.

For the unskilled workers migrating out of agriculture it is the low value services and not manufacturing that is the first port of call.

Share of manufacturing in total employment has remained fairly low at about 12 percent. This is in sharp contrast, not just with the developed countries, but even with Asian peers such as China and South Korea where it is higher at around 16 percent to 19 percent. The government’s “Make in India” initiative is driven by its desire for rapid structural change and growth.

An important feature of Indian agriculture is the presence of very large number of farmers (about 90 million farm households), and the very low average farm size – majority of farms are less than 1 hectare. These millions of farmers typically sell their produce in to wholesale markets. Consequently, farmers do not benefit from high prices at the retail end. This market structure is an important reason for the low labour productivity in the sector. To improve labour productivity in agriculture, we need (i) innovative institutional arrangements for some form of “collective” marketing by farmers (e.g., cooperatives, farmer producer organization, etc.) to improve their bargaining strength in the market; (ii) greater on-farm value addition / agro-processing (cleaning, cutting, packaging, etc.), (iii) development of agricultural marketing chains and agriculture specific infrastructure, and (iv) development of agro-processing industries.

Thus, we must not hesitate to introduce a number of structural changes in our agricultural sector to make it profitable.

Initiatives like National Agricultural Market or e-nam have helped in improving the profitability of agriculture by better access to markets and information.

We must also focus upon diversifying of crops further and increasing the coverage of crops under insurance.

Goal 8 and Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are directly relevant in the context of labour and employment. To recall, Goal 8 is “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”, while Goal 5 is “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. On both these aspects several issues confront the country.

How to facilitate job creation for people looking for jobs and that are entering the labor force? The annual addition to working age labor force (those falling in the age bracket 15-59) is estimated to be in the range of 5.8 million for the period 2015 to 2030. It is estimated that India will have to absorb around 16 million persons in new jobs over the next 15 years.

The future skill-profile of workers demanded by Industry and services sector could undergo dramatic change. Our system of education and skill-training needs to respond to the demands of industry and services sector. The pace of skill development would also be important if we have to benefit from the demographic transition.

We need to focus on skill upgradation and promote innovative entrepreneurship to meet the demands of various sectors, including agriculture.

We must also promote self employment, set up and empower more self help groups and promote village and cottage industries.

Large proportion of India’s labor force is engaged in informal work or work in informal enterprises. The challenge is two-fold. How to incentivize the entrepreneur to set up new enterprises in the formal/organised segment of the economy? How to encourage currently operating enterprises in the informal segment to move into the organised sector?

Gender disparity in labor market which has many dimensions needs to be addressed. The low share of women workers in organized sector and the lower wage per day of work for women in all types of wage employment are the striking features.

Developing countries need, among other things, an infrastructure push to sustain growth over the next generation. Infrastructure can be divided into three parts: trade and transport corridors, industrial zones, and social infrastructure.

Over the past decade, the importance of the West as the dominant source of international export demand has declined. Developing countries are confronted with the need to find newer markets within their boundaries and in other countries in the global south. This requires reorientation of westward trade channels through massive investment in intra-national (Bharatmala Project and Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor), inter-national (India-Afghanistan air corridor, Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project connecting India and Myanmar, and India-Bangladesh rail, road, and sea transport projects), intra-regional (BBIN /Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal projects), inter-regional (India-Iran-Afghanistan International Transport and Transit Corridor and India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway), and inter-continental (International North-South Transport Corridor and Asia-Africa Growth Corridor) physical connectivity. This is the context for the growing interest in domestic and transnational infrastructure over the past decade.

As far as the Social Infrastructure is concerned, building primary education, health care, and waste management facilities across the country, development of new small towns and renovation of existing towns and connecting them with local labour intensive manufacturing and services industries, and decongestion of existing metropolitan cities would be of utmost importance.

We have to aspire to achieve Former President Dr.A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s dream of providing urban amenities in rural areas, which he termed as “PURA”. 

The social inclusion programme he envisioned aims at providing amenities like drinking water, street lights, education, healthcare and telecom services to the country’s rural areas, bringing them at par with urban areas in terms of ease of living and working.

What will the world look like in 2030? Where do we see ourselves in that world? How should we choose our objectives? How should we build capacity to pursue those objectives? The answers to these questions have to be located in our interlocked domestic and international contexts. 

To manage its domestic challenges, India has to reach out to other countries to access cost-effective technology, investment, and energy. India needs appropriate economic and foreign policies to navigate through this emerging and uncertain landscape.

Our scientists, technologists and engineers must keep abreast of the developments and absorb new technologies as they occur. In a fast integrating world, this absorption is necessary for our progress.

We must identify areas and spheres where we have comparative advantage and push ahead.

Our development challenge can only be met by focusing on the expansion of the knowledge base. We must focus on improving the quality of research and fostering innovation.  That alone will be the required game changer.

That is why we need institutions of excellence like Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research. May I wish everyone of you success in your future endeavors.

My dear young friends who are being conferred with prestigious degrees today,

Convocation is a crucial ceremony in your life. It marks a significant transformation in your life.

Let me impress upon you that the nation looks up to you with great many expectations.

You must learn to preserve the best of traditional values, shun negativism, develop a positive attitude and be socially conscious, peace loving and empathetic.  Develop a constructive attitude and focus more on achieving perfection in whatever you do.

You should learn to love nature and live with nature and care for the preservation of natural resources and environment to create a more sustainable planet.

As you strive to reach these goals, you will face a number of challenges your way.  You will see as many setbacks as victories.

But I am confident that you will surge ahead, armed with knowledge and wisdom and the many great qualities that this great institution has nurtured in you.

I am confident that you will be the authors of New India’s growth story.

Let me congratulate you once again on this accomplishment.

I wish each and every one of you and the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research a very bright future.

Jai Hind!”

***

AKT/BK/MS/RK

Read more: Vice President calls for faster and more...

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has called for fully tapping the enormous potential of the Blue Economy for the country to achieve higher economic growth.

Observing that the objective of the Blue Economy is to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and employment opportunities through maritime economic activities, the Vice President wanted appropriate programs to be initiated for sustainable harnessing of ocean resources.

Interacting with the Scientists of National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), in Dona Paula, Goa today, Shri Naidu pointed out that India was meeting most of its oil and gas requirements through imports and urged the scientists to step up their research in areas such as ocean energy and marine energy. “Scientists should study the potential of renewable energy derived from the ocean-- from wind, wave and tidal sources”, he added.

Asking the Institute to act as a nodal centre for Blue Economy related research and technology development, Shri Naidu said there was a need to focus on ocean centric technology to harness the marine resources for sustained growth of India. Development of technologies for deep sea mining, underwater vehicles and underwater robotics for extraction of minerals should be initiated. “NIO should also undertake research on development of drugs from the sea”, he added.

The Vice President said that a focused approach in some of the areas such as minerals from the ocean, energy from ocean can make India a global leader and serve our national goals. ‘However, while pursuing the “blue growth”, every effort must be made by all the stakeholders, including private and public sectors, to prevent further degradation of the ocean and its ecosystems’, the Vice President cautioned.

In view of global warming, resource degradation and marine pollution, we have to conserve and sustain our oceans as time is running out, Shri Naidu said and advised CSIR-NIO to play a major role through its ocean observation studies in understanding different ocean processes due to climate change.

Shri Naidu lauded NIO for providing specialized services to society in addressing ocean-related problems. He also expressed happiness that the institute helped in preparing India’s claim for an extended continental shelf with an area of about a million square kilometres.

The Vice President also attended a presentation on various aspects and applications of Oceanography and visited laboratories and exhibition galleries at NIO. He applauded the good work being done by the Scientists and Scholars of NIO, especially in the field of conservation.

Following is the text of Vice President's address:

"I am delighted to visit this institute and address all of you. After becoming the Vice President, I have decided to visit various scientific and research institutions to interact with scientists for a better understanding of the work being undertaken by them and share my thoughts.

I am glad to interact with all of you and get a deeper appreciation of the excellent work being done by you. Oceans are of vital importance for the wealth and the well-being of present and future generations. They hold 97 per cent of the planet’s water, while two per cent is found in glaciers and ice caps and only one per cent comprises earth’s fresh water. 

We are aware of the fact that oceans produce more than 50 per cent of the world’s oxygen and absorb 40 per cent of the carbon dioxide, buffering the impact of global warming, underlines the crucial role played by them. Thus, they help in regulating the global climate.

Oceans cover 72 per cent of the surface of our blue planet and provide humankind with food, minerals, energy, fresh water and oxygen. They regulate climate, emission absorption and shoreline protection and support livelihoods as well as job creation. Indeed, oceans are our life support system.

Currently, it is estimated that more than three billion people depend on marine and coastal resources for their livelihoods. Enhancing more than 80 percent of global trade, marine and coastal environments constitute a key resource for economic development.

Considering the importance of oceans on the life and sustenance of humanity, the United Nations has taken steps to declare the period 2021–2030 as the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Further, the Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG-14) proposed by UN, which deals with life below the waters, emphasizes the importance of oceans in modulating and sustaining life.

With this background, it is important to prioritize our efforts in ocean science and technology to achieve the national goal of transforming India to be the third largest economy in the coming 10-15 years.

I am happy that CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India is doing research on different aspects of Ocean such as the impact of climate change, marine biodiversity, coastal hazards such as coastal erosion and storm surge, marine hazards like tectonics and slumping of seabed.

I understand that foundation of ocean science is mostly based on observations. To take up ocean observation studies, scientists like you need appropriate tools and platforms. I am told that research vessels are an ideal platform to do ocean observations. Research vessels and their equipment represent a significant technological asset.

I am glad that two dedicated ocean-going vessels, RV Sindhu Sankalp and RV Sindhu Sadhana are managed by CSIR-NIO.  With these two dedicated vessels, I am sure that CSIR-NIO will be able to carry out all the relevant studies in India's Exclusive Economic Zone, which constitutes 2/3rd of our land area.

From the presentations made to be me by different groups, I understand that CSIR-NIO is playing a major role in understanding science of the North Indian Ocean such as dynamics of its circulation, basin-wide bio-geo-chemistry and tectonic framework of basin evolution.

I am informed that the efforts of CSIR-NIO led to establishing India as a pioneer in poly-metallic nodule mining with an allocated mining site of 75,000 sq. km in the central Indian Ocean.

I am glad that CSIR-NIO helped to prepare India’s claim for extended continental shelf with an area of about a million square kilometres and this institute launched India’s Antarctic research programme in the early 1980s.

I am also happy to note that the CSIR-NIO provides specialized services to society in addressing ocean-related problems, in addition to its planned research projects. I am happy to learn that this institute has successfully carried out more than 1300 projects funded by oil & gas companies, ports, power plants, chemical industries, municipalities and industrial estates.

I understand that CSIR-NIO has also carried out Marine Environmental Impact Assessments for several prestigious and nationally important developmental projects such as Sea Bird Project of Indian Navy at Karwar and others involving offshore prospecting for oil and gas by ONGC, HPCL, IOC and BPCL among others.

Dear sisters and brothers, development along the coast has been increasing over the years. I have been informed that the Government of India has already planned development of ports and allied facilities through Sagarmala. Different coastal economic zones are planned. The Sagarmala project, which seeks to modernize ports through IT enabled services, is expected to give an impetus to the economy.

With India looking towards oceans for the economic growth through the Blue Economy, important institutions like NIO will have to step up their research in areas such as ocean energy and marine energy. It should be noted that India is meeting most of its oil and gas requirements through imports. Scientists should study the potential of renewable energy derived from the ocean-- from wind, wave and tidal sources.

The objective of the Blue Economy is to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and employment opportunities through maritime economic activities within the Indian Ocean region.

All of you will agree that, India should fully tap the enormous potential of the Blue Economy to achieve higher economic growth trajectory and initiate appropriate programs for sustainable harnessing of ocean resources, research and develop relevant sectors of oceanography.

However, while pursuing the “blue growth”, every effort must be made by all the stakeholders, including private and public sectors, to prevent further degradation of the ocean and its ecosystems.

In view of global warming, resource degradation, and marine pollution, we have to conserve and sustain our oceans as time is running out. Hence, CSIR-NIO should play a major role through dense ocean observations and high-resolution ocean models over the Indian Ocean to meet the challenges in understanding different ocean processes due to climate change.

The Institute should also act as a nodal centre for Blue economy related research and technology development. There is a need to focus on ocean centric technology to harness the marine resources economically for sustained growth of India. Development of technologies for deep sea mining, underwater vehicles and underwater robotics for extraction of minerals should be initiated. NIO should also undertake research on development of drugs from the sea.

I strongly feel that focused approach in some of the areas such as minerals from the ocean, energy from ocean can make India a global leader and serve our national goals.

I wish all the success to each one of you ,the scientists and staff of CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography in your future missions.

 

JAI HIND!"

 

***

 AKT/BK/MS/RK

Read more: Prevent degradation of ocean and its ecosystem:...

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has underscored India’s stand as a peace loving nation but determined to combat terror in all its forms and manifestations. He was interacting with the Vice President of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the Prime Minister of Guinea, Dr. Ibrahima Kassory Fofana and the Deputy Prime Minister of Lesotho, Mr. Monyane Moleleki, who called on him, at his residence here today. The Spouse of the Vice President, Smt. Usha Naidu and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

The Vice President welcomed the dignitaries with Anga Vastrams (traditional Indian attire) and Smt. Usha Naidu offered traditional Shawls to the spouses of the visiting dignitaries.

At the luncheon meeting hosted by the Vice President of India, the leaders shared their happiness at the traditionally close ties between their countries with India, underpinned by shared vision and values of peaceful co-existence and natural respect, democracy and rule of law.

Shri Naidu said that noted with satisfaction that there was strong economic co-operation between the countries and that all countries were growing at a fast pace. He further observed that each of our countries has natural, financial and human resources and that we have to tap into our material resources, enrich our human resources and transform our economies through partnership.

Recounting a number of high level visits between India and these countries including President of Ghana’s visit to India last year for the founding conference of International Solar Alliance; President of India’s visit to Ghana in 2016; the President of Guinea’s visit to India in 2015; His Majesty King Let Sie-III King of Lesotho’s visit in December, 2017 and of Prime Minister of Lesotho in 2018, the Vice President desired that these high level visits deepen our mutual ties and must continue. In this connection, he mentioned the possibility of his own State visit to Lesotho later this year.

He expressed pleasure that quite a few collaborative projects have been completed like the work on the Tema-Akosombo railway line has started (approx 400 Million USD) and India-Ghana Kofi Annan Centre ($ 2.86 million) set up training 20,000 students for excellence in IT in Ghana and India-Lesotho Centre for Advanced Information Technology started in 2017. He reiterated India’s support for electricity, hospitals, transportation – as well as in telemedicine (e-Arogya Bharati) and digital learning (e-Vidya-Bharati) in Guinea.

“There is immense scope for further enhancing bilateral trade and commercial cooperation between our countries”, he added.

The Vice President expressed the hope that in all our countries, we would be able to translate economic growth into inclusive, sustainable development and referred to Indian government’s resolve to transform governance and ultimately the lives of the people.

Shri Naidu thanked the leaders for their support to India in international forums, especially on the issue of India’s non-permanent membership of UNSC for 2020-21 and various candidatures in other UN bodies and stressed the need for democratizing UNSC as wells as by including India as member.

The Vice President highlighted the rising tide of terrorist violence across the globe including the recent incidents of Pulwama, Christchurch and Utrecht. He underscored India’s stand as a peace loving nation but determined to combat terror in all its forms and manifestations. The Vice President explained the recent preemptive counter terror air strikes by India

All the three leaders expressed unequivocal support to India’s actions and condemned the brutal assault at Pulwama. They reaffirmed their commitment to combat the menace and stated that even the African Union has taken a considered position against terror.

The Vice President hosted a traditional Indian Lunch along with Smt. Usha Naidu to those dignitaries and their delegations at the Vice President’s house.

 

***

AKT/BK/MS/RK

 

Read more: India is a peace loving nation but determined to...

More Articles ...

Advertisement

Translator

Advertisement
Advertisement

SolarQuarter Tweets

Follow Us For Latest Tweets

SolarQuarter RT @M2MWebdyn: [A @SolarQuarter EVENT] @gurdeepjuneja will be at the Sri Lanka Solar Week Conference on 7th May as a speaker at 12.45pm. Co…
Thursday, 18 April 2019 14:47
Thursday, 18 April 2019 11:43
SolarQuarter Visit South India’s largest Renewable Energy Expo RenewX2019 to be held from, April 26-27, Hitex, Hyderabad Link… https://t.co/EJNUPpERUh
Thursday, 18 April 2019 09:21

Advertisement