[Reader-list] Union Budget triggers disquiet in fisheries sector

T Peter peter.ksmtf at gmail.com
Wed Mar 2 03:03:39 CST 2016

*Union Budget triggers disquiet in fisheries sector*



Fish workers’ unions have flayed the Union Budget presented by Finance
Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday, accusing it of ignoring their legitimate
demands to provide livelihood support and modernise the fisheries sector.

Terming the budget as disappointing, the National Fishworkers Forum (NFF)
said the budget allocation of Rs.575.34 crore for the fisheries sector fell
far short of expectations. “The government has belied our hopes,” NFF
chairperson M. Ilango and national secretary T. Peter said in a pressnote
issued here.

“Our long-pending demands for a separate ministry for fisheries and
fishers’ welfare and recognising the fishermen community as a tribe have
again been overlooked. The government has failed to deliver on its
commitment to address our concerns in this budget. The promises made in the
national fisheries policy of the BJP in 2010 also remain on paper.”

The press note said the government had shattered the hopes of the sector by
slashing the budgetary allocation by 10 per cent. “There was not even a
mention of the fishermen community in the 100-minute budget speech by the
Finance Minister.”

The All Kerala Fishing Boat Operators’ Association said the budget lacked
any constructive proposal to revive and modernise the fisheries sector and
equip it for sustainable exploitation of marine resources. General
Secretary of the association Joseph Xavier Kalappurackal alleged that the
budget had exposed the government’s intention to open up the sector to
foreign players.

“Our proposal for a pilot scheme to replace the country’s ageing, outdated
fishing fleet with modern vessels has been given the short shrift. There is
no mention of livelihood support schemes or upgradation of fish landing
centres in the Finance Minister’s budget speech,” Mr. Joseph said. “The
government has lost another opportunity to utilise our skills and resources
for sustainable exploitation of fisheries,” he said.

NFF is organising a rally at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, on March 10.

·  *Government accused of gross neglect*

·  *Unions allege failure to honour commitments*

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