New Delhi: The government is considering imparting special training to fishermen and people living in coastal areas to facilitate them in taking up seafarer jobs, Union Minister Mansukh Lal Mandaviya said on Tuesday.
Fishermen and people across India's 7,300-km coastline have been traditionally dependent on the sea for livelihood but the percentage of Indian seafarers in the global trade is low, the Minister of State for Shipping (Independent Charge) said.
"We are planning that the fishermen and people across India's 7,300 km coastline, traditionally dependent on sea be imparted training ... It has huge job potential. After the initial 10-15 days training, certificates can be provided by DG Shipping and this could facilitate them to pursue the job of seafarers with separate training for different wings," the minister said in his maiden interaction with media after assuming charge as shipping minister.
He said there is huge potential in this area as globally about 50 lakh seafarers are required.
He said concerted efforts have led to a rise in India's seafarers to about 2 lakh from 92,000 earlier but efforts are to boost this under various initiatives including the Sagarmala project.
He said a small country like the Philippines has 8 lakh seafarers.
The minister said he is also focusing on strengthening India's presence in ship breaking and ship recycling which offer huge potential.
"Shipbreaking and shipbuilding industries. There is a huge opportunity we have to tap it...In ship recycling, we easily get 8 per cent steel. Otherwise, 25 to 30 tonnes of coal is consumed while producing one tonne of steel...India can become a global hub in this direction," he said.
About hazardous material, he said that the government would strictly ensure international norms including the Hong Kong convention for this.
The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships requires among other things maintaining an inventory of Hazardous Materials for all ships over 500GT.
The minister said promoting inland water transport on Ganga is also one of his priorities.
Apart from reducing congestion from roads and rail through coastal trade, cruise shipping will also be a priority area, he said.
The number of Indian seafarers employed on Indian or foreign flag vessels increased by 35 per cent in 2018 on the back of a series of measures taken by the government.
The number increased to 2.08 lakh from 1.54 lakh, according to government data.
Along with this, the number of students placed for onboard training also rose from 14,307 in 2017 to 19,545 in 2018, registering a jump of nearly 37 per cent.
The government has said that the growth in the number of Indian seafarers has been possible due to a series of measures taken by the government in the last four years to improve the standards of maritime training, increase onboard training opportunities, improve the examination and certification system and facilitate ease of doing business.