The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has rejected a demand for the formation of a ministry for fisheries independent of the agriculture ministry. It says the subject is receiving "adequate attention" by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
"There is no requirement for a separate ministry of fisheries development," said the PMO.
KC Venugopal, Congress MP from Alappuzha, a coastal constituency in Kerala, made the demand for a separate ministry.
In a written reply to Venugopal last week, Minister of State in PMO Prithviraj Chavan said the PMO had examined the matter and agreed that "the country is endowed with vast fisheries resources and more than 14 million people are engaged in the fisheries sector for their livelihood".
Chavan said: "The Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries is a fully independent and autonomous department in the Ministry of Agriculture."
"Within the department too, fisheries is a separate and full-fledged division comprising fisheries professionals and adequate number of technocrats," the PMO cited.
"You will agree that the fisheries sector development has received adequate attention over the years under the present dispensation," Chavan said in his reply to Venugopal, a former Kerala minister and first time MP who had raised his demand during the budget session of parliament.
Referring to the schemes implemented by the central government in the fisheries sector, Chavan said: "These schemes have acted as catalysts to leverage efforts and resources in the areas of inland aquaculture, marine fisheries resources and welfare activities for the poor fishermen to tide over their occupational difficulties."
Chavan also referred to the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), which was set up in Hyderabad in 2006.
"The board is fully operational now with an outlay of Rs 1,550 crore (Rs 15.5 billion)," he pointed out.