Yojana Magazine: November 2022 | Indian Maritime

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November Yojana | Indian Maritime


  1. Paradigm of Coastal Security
  2. International Maritime Transport
  3. Coastal Erosion
  4. Marine Plastics Pollution
  5. Blue Economy
  6. Sailing through the history
  7. Port-led Development
  8. Indian Coastal Community and Climate Change

1. Paradigm of Coastal Security


  • Following the horrific Mumbai terror attacks in 1993, the need for a coastal security mechanism became apparent. The explosives used were discovered to have been smuggled through the sea route.
  • Following the Kargil War, the Group of Ministers recommended the establishment of an institutionalised framework for coastal security. However, following the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, the coastal security construct, framework, and mechanism underwent a paradigm shift.


  • India's three out of four metro cities are located on the coast. About 14.2% of the population
    in India lives in coastal districts.
  • Around 95% of India's trade by volume and 68% by value is conducted through these waters, with priority being accorded to port-led development plans in recent years.
  • The offshore development areas are critical for securing India's energy needs, and we have one of the largest fishing fleets globally.
  • There are nine Coastal States, four UTs and 1295 islands spread along the coast of India.
  • These coastal areas host major commercial cities, and significant strategic and vital installations of Defence, Atomic Energy, Petroleum, and private ventures besides 12 major ports and more than 239 non-major ports, thus increasing the coastline's vulnerability.
  • The geostrategic location of the Indian peninsula poses typical oceanic challenges owing to proximity to major international shipping lanes, inimical neighbourhood-sponsored cross-border terrorism, transnational maritime crimes like narcotics and weapon trafficking, human trafficking etc. and dense fishing traffic around the Indian cape.
  • The use of sea routes by terrorists during the attacks of 26/11 highlighted the vulnerabilities of India’s coastline and its security.


  • As the ocean is a bounty of nature itself, the sphere of activities in the nautical environment is vast.
  • Thus, Several agencies, which include Indian Coast Guard, Indian Navy, Coastal Security Police, Customs, Fisheries, Port Authorities, Intelligence Agencies, and other Central and State Departments, are the stakeholders in ocean governance.
  • The multi-agency concept mandates cooperation, coordination, and institutionalised domain control of the respective agency to achieve foolproof security by optimum utilisation of limited resources.
  • Thus the concept of a tiered mechanism emerges for surveillance in-depth, and thus the Indian Coast Guard is additionally responsible for coastal security in territorial waters.
  • The Director General Indian Coast Guard is designated as Commander of Coastal Command with responsibility for overall coordination between various agencies.


  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Coastal Security were promulgated to ensure a high degree of preparedness.
  • Coastal Security Exercise 'Sagar Kavach' is conducted bi-annually for each coastal state.
  • Focus has been given to coastal infrastructure and asset creation. More than 200 Coastal Police Stations along with patrol boats have been established.
  • Further, measures such as coastal mapping, strengthening of security at non-major ports, setting up of State Maritime Boards by coastal States, and biometric identity cards for fishermen have also been implemented.
  • The integration of technology with surveillance methodology has been achieved by establishing Coastal Surveillance Network (CSN) for seaward electronic surveillance up to 25 NM from the coast.
  • The Indian Coast Guard and Coastal Police have established a Joint Coastal Patrol (JCP).
  • The apex level monitoring and review of the implementation of measures for enhancing the effectiveness of the Coastal Security Framework are done by the National Committee on Strengthening of Maritime and Coastal Security against threats from the sea (NCSMCS), Multi-Agency Maritime Security Group (MAMSG) under NSA.


  • Coastal security is the maintenance of “Law and Order” close to the coast, and a subset of ocean governance for maintaining good order at sea.
  • Coastal security as seen can be summarised into effective law enforcement measures implemented at sea 24×7×365 duly co-ordinated by the Indian Coast Guard, which over the years, has grown into a force to reckon with and earned the appellation as “Sentinels of Seas”.

2. International Maritime Transport


  • Today, transportation is ubiquitous globally, but water transport, especially through the oceans and seas has been a major contributor to the planet's progress.
  • As industrialisation and international trade expanded, countries increasingly invested in seaports, airports, produced storage, and large ocean-going ships.
  • Though trade had flourished through the ages, maritime transport matured in technology and tonnage only after World War II, especially in the last three decades of the 20th century.
  • Trade barriers have diminished with globalisation, advancing marine engineering technologies and containerisation.
  • And remarkably, Computerisation has changed the ways and conduct of international trade and transport.


  • A major disruption in the sector was caused by the pandemic pause. Prior to and during these periods, decarbonisation had been the major challenge.
  • Shipping costs, fuel costs, freight and logistics costs had increased and were yet to find firm levels.
  • The Drewry World Container Index (composite), an indicator of the container spot rates, had climbed 5 to 6 times since the end of 2020 and breached USD 10000 (in 2021).
  • Economies in transition have been the most affected. But if cargo loaded during this phase is considered, developing countries especially in Asia continue to be on top.
  • Another trend for the analysis is the size of the vessels. The preference to large container carrying capacity may be attributed to the companies sighting economies of scale.
  • However, given the experience of the ship, 'Ever Given', which grounded and caused the blockage of the Suez Canal in March 2021, this trend might slow down.
  • Crew care will be a crucial area on the human resources front. Timely wages vaccinations, free and preferential passage (seafarer as an essential worker) etc., will be in the fleet managers' perspectives.
  • A challenge in perpetuity that maritime transport faces is the regulatory maze due to multiple regulations. The greatest challenge will however be the efforts towards decarbonisation.


  • In shipbuilding, the preference for lightweight components, superior hull coatings, energy-efficient main and auxiliary machinery, condition monitoring, predictive maintenance regimes, etc., will continue to improve.
  • Machine Learning, Blockchain and AI will bloom as per the recent trends.
  • Electric cargo handling equipment, high stacker forklifts, etc., are already present in many modern ports. E-documents, paperless smart technologies for swifter truck movement, digital tracking of containers, etc., are changing the business process in shipping.


  • Most of the analysis predicts good growth post-pandemic. However, the effect of uncertainties centring around Covid-19, transport costs, supply chain globalisation patterns disruption, and port congestion persist.
  • Another big challenge includes geopolitical factors of the Russia- Ukraine conflict and the China-Taiwan tensions also add up to the diminishing growth.


  • Globalisation is the process by which businesses or other organisations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale. This is now well embedded in India's growth plans.
  • The Chabahar port (Iran), the management of petroleum requirements under changing geopolitical scenarios, trade equations with China along with persisting border tensions, the opening up of inland waterways etc., all stand as evidence.
  • However, the following are some challenges that still remain:
    • Structure favourable tax regimes and incentivising shipping:
      • India is placed 35th amongst 46 countries in the PRIME (Protectionism in Maritime Economies) index, implying a high level of protectionism. Reduced protectionism can make shipbuilding and operations competitive and improve efficacy.
    • Low tonnage and dependence on foreign vessels for overseas trade:
      • This is largely attributed to the poor vessel turnaround and ageing Indian fleet (average age 20 years and above).
      • This causes a bleed of foreign exchange also.
      • The port calling costs in India are also higher by 3 to 5 times the costs in neighbouring ports, and high logistics costs.
      • Improved hinterland connectivity, easing port congestion and investment in infrastructure, etc., can help with fighting these challenges.
    • Lack of focussed attention on core and areas of concern:
      • These include shipbuilding/repair/recycling; container manufacturing, etc.
      • India has about 32 yards with the capacity to build ships but the major share of shipbuilding is held by the public sector yards.
      • On the ship repair front, India is yet to exploit its proximity advantage (geographic location on the international trade routes). The southern Vizhinjam port initiative faces local resistance, financing issues, etc.
      • On the recycling front, while the global market is between USD10-12 billion, India's share is around USD100 million only.
    • Development delays in Ports Sector:
      • The integration of inland waterways with ocean transport would pave the way for reducing congestion and costs.
    • Manpower:
      • India has the right mix of the young populace (skilled and ready to be skilled), a long coastline, land for development (warehouses, hubs, freight stations) and scope for infrastructure improvement.
      • Presently, India has 12 major ports, 200 minor ports spotting 7157 km of coastline. Though India stays in the top seafarer supplying nations, lesser attraction to sea career amongst youth has dented the and the quality of the workforce. This is a matter of concern.


  • Maritime India Vision 2030 (MIV 2030) is a blueprint to ensure coordinated and accelerated growth of India’s maritime sector in the next decade. Its main objective is of propelling India to the forefront of the Global Maritime Sector. Read here to know in detail about MIV 2030.
  • MIV 2030 identifies over 150 initiatives across 10 themes covering all the facets of the Indian maritime sector and is a comprehensive effort to define and meet national maritime objectives.
  • Significant initiatives have been envisaged under MOV 2030, which include:
    • Ports (> 55 initiatives) – Improve infrastructure; Smart Port Concepts; Reduce logistics costs; Institutional, Regulatory & Legislative Reforms.
    • Shipping (>70 initiatives) – Shipbuilding, Ship repair, Ship Recycling (Atmanirbhar); Reform Shipping Policy; Cruise Hubs (Ocean, Coastal, Islands)
    • Waterways (>20 initiatives) – Promote Cargo movement (Improve regional connectivity, multi-modality & coastal integration); River Cruise tourism; Urban Water Transport.
  • In addition, National Logistics Portal and non-core asset monetisation also are among the initiatives.
  • The Indian Ports Bill is one developmental initiative. This is expected to redefine the Centre-State model for better transparency and to foster growth.
  • The latest announcement of the National Logistics Policy to be implemented through a comprehensive plan is expected to bring the logistics costs down among many other intended benefits.


  • Maritime transport will be a major mode of trade across the globe, especially considering the volumes. For sustainable development, three major factors namely, geopolitics, environment and technology will have to be kept in the scheme of things.

3. Coastal Erosion


  • Coastal areas are given crucial importance in recent years, due to the increasing human population and accelerated developmental activities near coasts.
  • The developmental activities have put tremendous pressure on the fragile coastal environment and about 20% of the Indian population resides in the coastal area.
  • Many thickly populated and industrialised cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Kochi, and Visakhapatnam are located along/near the coastal regions.
  • Some of the general problems along the Indian coast which require engineering interventions include silting up of entrance channels, the closing of river mouths, flooding during a storm surge, sand bar formation near mouths of inlets, rivers, and estuaries, and erosion of the coast. While all the problems need to be addressed, coastal erosion is a major concern.


  • Coastal Erosion is wearing away and redistributing solid elements of the shoreline as well as sediment, normally by such natural forces as waves, tidal and littoral currents, and deflation.
  • A coastline is a complex series of interlinked physical systems in which both offshore and onshore processes are involved. Coastal Erosion is one of these physical processes, wearing away and redistributing solid elements of the shoreline as well as sediment, normally by such natural forces as waves, tidal and littoral currents, and deflation.
  • Erosion occurs when the material being removed, for deposition elsewhere, exceeds the rate of supply finally resulting in the landward shifting of the shoreline.
  • The coastal sediments, together with those arising from inland erosion and transported seaward by rivers, are redistributed along the coast, providing material for dunes, beaches, marshes, and reefs.
  • Waves are the main cause of coastal erosion.


  • Kerala is the state which is worst affected by coastal erosion in India.
  • In the original assessment in the 1960s, about 57% of the coastline was identified as vulnerable.
  • An assessment made in the late 1980s indicated that almost 85% length of Kerala's coastline was in the grip of erosion.
  • Later, it was found that Karnataka and Maharashtra were also affected badly by sea erosion.
  • The first anti-sea erosion measure in Puducherry was initiated by the French in the early 1920s with a 1.75 km long retaining wall along the urban coastline in Puducherry.


  • The coastline keeps changing its shape and position continuously due to dynamic environmental conditions.
  • The causes of erosion are either natural or man-made. Sometimes, it is a combination of both, natural and man-made factors.
  • While the former is a relentless process that is often impossible to resist, the latter is often due to ill-planned activities and can certainly be contained, or even reversed.


  • Natural factors influencing coastal erosion are waves, winds, tides, near-shore currents, storms, sea level rise, etc.
    • The combined action of different processes on the coastline like waves and tides maintains the stability of the shoreline. If for any reason, the sediment supply to a section of beach is reduced due to littoral drift/sea level rise or constant impact of waves, it can cause severe erosion.
  • Another important factor here is an increasing gradient in transport rate in the direction of the net transport, e.g. consider the gradient in the wave conditions due to certain relief features or bathymetric conditions. Also, the natural variation in the supply of sediments to the coastline from the river can affect the erosion of the coastline.
  • Another major factor promoting coastal erosion is the sea level rise. An increasing sea level will promote shoreline setbacks. This setback is higher in the littoral coasts, consisting of finer sediments, as compared to coasts consisting of coarser sediments.
  • Another factor is the phenomenon of subsidence. Subsidence is a regional phenomenon that lowers the surface area in a specific region. It impacts the coastline in a way similar to sea level rise, however, the rate may vary as per the factor causing this subsidence.
  • Also, catastrophic events like severe storms, tidal surges, and cyclones cause the sea level to rise to abnormal heights and cause severe erosion.


  • Most of the human-induced erosion is due to human interventions in the natural transportation process as well as in the sediment load of the rivers. Human activity may be enumerated as coastal defence structures, river regulation works, dredging aggregate extraction/sand mining, oil/gas exploration(in the form of long-term subsidence) and ports/harbours that impact sediment transport.
  • Coastal activities can also directly or indirectly result in beach erosion. For example:
    • Building houses via land reclamation or within sand dune areas.
    • Sand removal above replenishable quantities from the coast upsets the longshore sand transport budget and can result in erosion down drift.
    • Groynes and jetties and other structures on the coast/ shoreline interfere with long-shore sand transport and can result in erosion when these are ill-designed.
    • Structures like seawalls, bulkheads, etc. have side effects in terms of erosion of adjacent areas.
    • Coral mining and other means of spoiling the protective coral reefs will also cause coastal erosion and beach degradation.
    • The removal of dune vegetation and mangroves due to man interventions causes exposure of the low-energy shorelines to the increased energy and reduced sediment stability.
  • The phenomenon of Climate Change has recently emerged as an important determinant in the coastal environment. Coasts are sensitive to sea level rise, changes in the frequency and intensity of storms, increases in precipitation, and warmer ocean temperatures.
  • In addition, rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing the oceans to absorb more of the gas and become more acidic.
  • This rising acidity can have significant impacts on coastal and marine ecosystems. The low-lying areas along the coast are likely to be prone to salinisation due to seawater intrusion (surface and ground).


  • Coastal protection measures moderate the long-term average erosion rate of shoreline change from natural or man-made causes. Reduced erosion means a wider buffer zone between the land and the sea.
  • Protection of the coastline from erosion is provided by nature in the form of a stable beach, capable of dissipating incident wave energy. Such beaches are not available at all places along the coast.
  • Nature’s coastal protection is also demonstrated at the headlands, reefs, shores, dunes, etc.
  • Protection works to prevent erosion should be on a long-term basis and must be planned to suit the particular site conditions on the basis of thorough field investigation and available data which require observations over an extended period of time.
  • Many schemes have failed and resulted in environmental and socio-economic problems owing to improper design, construction and maintenance.
  • The measures to control erosion include non–structural and structural or their combination.


  • These measures aim at the dissipation of the wave energy by mirroring the natural forces and maintaining the natural topography of the coast.
  • These measures are also called soft solutions. Some of these are:
    • Artificial nourishment of beaches
    • Coastal vegetation such as mangrove and palm plantation
    • Sand bypassing at tidal inlets
    • Dune reconstruction/rehabilitation
  • These measures have limitations. While artificial nourishment of beaches is complicated and costly – mangrove plantation is possible only in marshy land and in semi-tropical or tropical conditions.


  • The structural measures, also known as the hard structural/engineering measures use physical structures constructed near the coast to prevent or restrict water from reaching the potential damage areas.
  • These solutions influence the coastal processes to stop/reduce the rate of coastal erosion.
  • The structural measures used for coastal erosion prevention include seawalls, revetment, off-shore breakwaters, groins/groynes/spurs, offshore reefs, and artificial headland.
  • Out of the above measures, Seawall is a popular measure and is generally used in almost all maritime states in varying proportions.


  • Combination of structural and non-structural measures helps in providing better efficacy and efficiency.
  • The combination gives synergetic outcomes and provides an environmentally and economically acceptable coastal protection system
  • Some examples of the combination based solutions are:
    • Combining beach nourishment with artificial headlands/groynes
    • Revegetation with temporary offshore breakwaters/ artificial reefs is commonly used


  • Coastal Protection and Development Advisory Committee (CPDAC) recommended the need for the preparation of a Coastal Atlas showing information related to coastal erosion derived from satellite data and protection measures undertaken by all maritime states of India.
  • Accordingly, a project entitled, “Shoreline Change Atlas of the Indian Coast”, was initiated by Space Applications Centre (ISRO), Ahmedabad, in collaboration with Central Water Commission.
  • SAC and CWC worked jointly to bring out a shoreline change atlas for the time frame 1989-91 and 2004-06 in 2014.
  • Key Findings:
    • Around 15% of the 7549 km coastline has eroded, 14% of the coast has accreted, and the remaining of the coast remained stable w.r.t 2004-06. The area under accretion is higher than the area under erosion with a net gain of 362 ha of land.
    • The shoreline along the eastern Indian peninsula is observed to be more dynamic and along the west coast, the shoreline changes are more along the Kerala and Karnataka coasts.


  • For a huge nation like India, coastal erosion is a challenging and crucial issue. Our coastlines are being protected from the risk of coastal erosion using both conventional methods (using hard structures like a seawall, etc.) and new, creative soft techniques like dune regeneration.

4. Marine Plastics Pollution


  • Every year, humans produce 300 million tonnes of plastic waste including 11 million tonnes of plastic waste that eventually wind up in the ocean.
  • In fact, by 2050, there could be more plastics than fish in the ocean.
  • Most plastics never disappear instead, it becomes smaller, with particles being swallowed by fish and eventually consumed by Humans in their food and tap water. (UN 2022)
  • Thus we can safely conclude that the marine plastics pollution is a global menace.
  • There is a need for regular and standardised monitoring of marine litter to understand long-term changes in marine litter pollution and for the successful development and implementation of mitigation strategies.


  • Land-based sources:
    • It includes plastic waste that entered the ocean from coastal populations living within 50 km of the coastline.
  • Ocean-based sources:
    • It includes plastic waste that directly entered the ocean from ocean-based sources such as the fishing industry, commercial and recreational shipping, and offshore platforms.


  • Accumulation of marine debris was reported along the coast of Great Nicobar Island, Andaman by the Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System (COMAPS) programme by the National Centre for Ocean Research of the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • t is reported that 8% of the total solid waste produced is plastic waste and the top three cities that contribute most to pollution are Delhi, Kolkata, and Ahmedabad.
  • Plastic production in India increased by 39.7% and now stands at 9.46 million tonnes of plastic waste per year when five years ago it was 5.7 million tonnes per year.
  • However only 15% of the plastic waste produced is recycled in India and the rest is sent to landfills, incinerators, or dumped into the oceans and rivers. 0.6 million tonnes of plastic waste end up in oceans from India alone via rivers, surface run-off etc.
  • The Ganges discharges about 105000 tonnes of plastic waste into the Bay of Bengal every year.


  • Tamil Nadu has a long coastline and it stands second in the plastics production in India. Thus TN acts as a source of marine plastic waste.
  • Plastic waste reaching through rivers and land run-off and ghost gear dumped cause serious problems to the flora and fauna as well as the livelihood of the fishing communities along the coast.
  • The Government of Tamil Nadu banned the usage of thin plastic (polymers of thickness below 40 microns).
  • Despite such laws passed, Chennai is the major cause of plastic production in Tamil Nadu as it produces about 898700 tonnes of plastic waste per year of which 57000 tonnes per year are disposed into the ocean.

  • The major contributors to the discharge of plastic into the ocean are the Adyar and the Cooum rivers, which run through the heart of the city accounting for 81% and 19% of total riverine discharge from Chennai, respectively.


  • The Gulf of Mannar is an important biodiversity hotspot as supports numerous marine ecosystems and provides the senes of economic security for Tamil Nadu due to its fisheries resources.
  • It is situated in Tamil Nadu and extends from Rameswaram to Kanyakumari.
  • Horst-Graben structure, the prevalence of monsoon, two courses of drift in water currents, Cenozoic sedimentary functions and riverine processes make the Gulf of Mannar biosphere ideal for a lot of marine biota and stable marine ecosystems.
  • The marine plastic pollution is threatening the very existence of this important region.


  • Abandoned, Lost, or Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG) is a serious problem worldwide due to the lack of data.
  • Most of these wastes are due to shipping or fishing accidents, bad weather, etc., and while most of the lost gear is retrieved by the fishers, the little that remains causes serious problems to the marine ecosystems.
  • A lot of species are killed by these wastes, and since they do not decompose easily, they keep killing various organisms throughout their lifetime.
  • About 20% of all the plastic debris in the oceans is from ALDFG according to UNEP. Globally, it is estimated that about 640000 tons of ghost gear are disposed of into the oceans every year.


  • Plastics are made from non­renewable resources such as crude oil and hence they are hard to decompose as the polymers are bonded through covalent bonds, a strong bonding force.
  • The majority of the plastic debris (94%) in the oceans disintegrates into microplastic while the remaining 6% remains as microplastic.
  • Microplastic is about 5 mm in diameter and is always disposed of into the environment through anthropogenic sources.
  • They are particularly hard to locate, track and study as they are smaller than what the naked eye can see.
  • Another major issue with microplastics is that they show a high affinity to other toxicants, making them more dangerous to the organisms ingesting them.
  • The Marine Plastics survey programme of NCCR studied the distribution of microplastics in Coastal locations in the Bay of Bengal (BoB) and Arabian Sea (AS).


  • Commemorating the 75th year of India’s independence, a coastal cleanup drive was carried out at 75 beaches across the country for 75 days over a 7500 km long coastline.
  • This unique first-ever national campaign culminated on “International Coastal Clean-up Day” on 17 September 2022.


  • Plastic is currently widely used and a crucial part of contemporary industries. So, we must control its use until we find a replacement for it.

5. Blue Economy


  • With its geographic and geostrategic position in and critical dependence on the Indian Ocean, India has been leading the Blue Economy discourse at the highest level of the Government, with a greater focus on the Indian Ocean region.
  • The Indian Ocean's Blue Economy has become a global economic corridor.
  • It is the world's third-largest body of water, covering 68.5 million square km and rich in oil and mineral resources, and countries around the ocean's periphery are home to about one-third of humanity.
  • The ocean is one of Earth's most valuable natural resources. Mankind exploits the ocean to meet his energy, food, recreational, military, and other needs. Oceans are used for transportation-both travel and shipping. Today around 80% of world trade is seaborne.


  • Blue economy essentially refers to the multitude of ocean resources available in the country that can be harnessed to aid the production of goods and services because of its linkages with economic growth, environmental sustainability, and national security.
  • The blue economy is a vast socio-economic opportunity for coastal nations like India to utilise ocean resources for societal benefit responsibly.


  • With its geographic and geostrategic position in and critical dependence on the Indian Ocean, India has been leading the Blue Economy discourse at the highest level of the Government, with a greater focus on the Indian Ocean region.
  • The essence of this approach was spelt out by the Government for seeking “Security And Growth for All in the Region” (SAGAR).
  • The current governance framework of marine resource management in the Indian Ocean explores the challenges in Blue Economy development to ensure sustainable development in the region. Maritime security is essential to ensure a holistic approach toward the governance, use, and maintenance of Oceans.


  • It would, as Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) points out, “contribute to food security, poverty alleviation, the mitigation of and resilience to the impacts of climate change, enhanced trade and investment, enhanced maritime connectivity, enhanced diversification, job creation, and socio-economic growth.”
  • From the business perspective, Blue Economy requires innovative and dynamic business models, forming business connections between India and other relevant countries, especially those located in the Indian Ocean region.
  • The Blue Economy may offer a partial path toward food security and millions of jobs to the unemployed.
  • It may be underlined that the theatre of the development of the Blue Economy, from India's prism, will be the waters surrounding it, i.e., the Indian Ocean. Hence the countries situated in our immediate and extended neighbourhood would receive our focal attention.


  • India’s blue economy is a subset of the national economy comprising the entire ocean resources system and human-made economic infrastructure in marine, maritime, and onshore coastal zones within the country’s legal jurisdiction.
  • With some 7,500 kilometres, India has a unique maritime position. Nine of its 29 states are coastal, and it’s geography includes 1,382 islands.
  • There are nearly 199 ports, including 12 major ports that handle approximately 1,400 million tons of cargo each year.
  • Besides, India’s Exclusive Economic Zone of over 2 million square kilometres has a bounty of living and non-living resources with significant recoverable resources such as crude oil and natural gas.
  • Also, the coastal economy sustains over 4 million fisherfolk and coastal communities.
  • It accounts for roughly 4% of the GDP and is estimated to increase once the mechanism is improved.
  • Fisheries and minerals are the two most viable components of the blue economy in India.
  • In 1987, India was granted exclusive rights to explore polymetallic nodules in the Central Indian Ocean Basin. It has explored four million square miles and established two mine locations since then.
  • India has significant diplomatic interests in the Indo-Pacific, as well as international commitments in the region under the UNCLOS, such as Search and Rescue, seabed mining, and counter-piracy.


  • A Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) was established in 2015-16 with a five-year budget of Rs. 3,000 crores.
  • The 'Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund' (FIDF) was established in 2018-19.
  • The Government of India launched the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY), in May 2020, to bring about a Blue Revolution through sustainable and responsible development of the country's fisheries sector.


  • India’s maritime security strategy focuses on all aspects of the challenges including the ocean economy that are affecting the health and the future of oceans and countries.
  • It combines traditional and non­traditional maritime security paradigms such as environmental degradation, ocean trade security, drug trafficking, and piracy, as well as other traditional challenges.
  • Maritime security is an enabler of the Blue Economy. The non-traditional security threats have effects on the military and also on strategy, policy and operations.


  • India has a 7517 km coastline, 1197 islands, and an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) spanning 2.01 million sq km, which is expected to go up to almost 3 million sq km after the delimitation of the continental shelf.
  • India is strategically located between two important choke points namely the Strait of Hormuz and the Strait of Malacca, through which most of the trade in commercial shipping moves in the Indian Ocean.
  • These straits and rim of the Indian Ocean are laced with a large number of countries from four continents- Asia, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica.
  • Thus, as India is all set to achieve the goals of the Blue Economy, the role of ICG becomes very crucial. Indian Coast Guard is one of the major maritime law enforcement agencies in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • ICG is one of the major maritime law enforcement agencies in the Indian Ocean Region. It plays a bigger role in averting major pollution incidents, anti-poaching, and Search & Rescue, its importance as an essential actor in non-traditional security is well established.


  • In pursuit of the SDGs of Blue Economy, revolutions in maritime transportation and information systems, growth of ports and shipping, mineral research and exploitation, emerging threats to the marine environment, and changing national security concerns will shape the course of the Nation.
  • More than ever, India will call upon the Coast Guard to protect lives and serve the national interests on the high seas, along the Nation's maritime borders and coasts.
  • Mindful of these responsibilities, the ICG has charted its course and embarked on an ambitious plan to renew assets and increase capabilities, by matching its high-performing people with modern equipment and technologies, the Indian Coast Guard will remain always ready to meet the challenges ahead.

6. Sailing Through the History


  • This chapter is dedicated to the Aircraft Carriers of India.
  • An aircraft carrier is a warship that serves as a seagoing airbase, equipped with a full-length flight deck and facilities for carrying, arming, deploying, and recovering aircraft.
  • Typically, it is the capital ship of a fleet, as it allows a naval force to project air power worldwide without depending on local bases for staging aircraft operations.
  • Aircraft carriers are extremely strong and have powerful weapons. Their military capabilities, which include carrier-borne aircraft, have completely changed the marine domain.
  • An aircraft carrier offers a wide range of strategic benefits. It offers incredibly flexible operational options.
  • Surveillance, air defence, airborne early warning, protection of Sea Lines of Communication (SLOG), and anti-submarine warfare are some of its principal functions.
  • For India, the carrier battle group, with its inherent combat elements and firepower, becomes a key capability to establish effective air dominance and efficient sea control.


  • Right from its Independence, India was well aware of the need for aircraft carriers to establish itself as a blue water navy.
  • Since the sixties, the Indian Navy has had the unique distinction of operating all variants of aircraft launch and recovery systems.
  • Let's go through the important Aircraft Carriers of India.


  • The INS Vikrant was launched on September 22, 1945, as Hercules. However, its construction was stalled and was completed when India purchased it from Britain in 1957.
  • On March 04, 1961, it was commissioned as Vikrant in its first avatar.
  • The 19,500-tonne Carrier, INS Vikrant was the first ever carrier for an Asian country and remained so for a long time.
  • Soon after its commissioning, the INS Vikrant saw action during the Goa Liberation Operation in 1961.
  • It played a crucial role in the 1971 war with its aircrafts decimating the enemy. The Sea Hawks and Alizés pounded the enemy targets over Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Khulna and Mongla.
  • The INS Vikrant emerged in a new avatar as a Vertical/Short Take Off and Land (V/STOL) carrier in 1984, with the brand new, state-of-the-art aircraft Sea Harrier.
  • Its new capability inspired the induction of INS Vikramaditya, and the plans of its reincarnation.
  • After serving for 36 years, it was decommissioned from active service on 31 January 1997.


  • INS Viraat was originally commissioned by the British Royal Navy as HMS Hermes on November 18, 1959.
  • It served the Royal Navy in three different avatars.
  • he Indian Navy, in need of a second aircraft carrier, acquired the HMS Hermes on April 24, 1986. INS Viraat was finally commissioned by the Indian Navy on 12 May 1987.
  • INS Viraat’s first major operation was ‘Operation Jupiter’ in July 1989 as part of Peacekeeping Operations in Sri Lanka, following the breakdown of the Indo-­Sri Lanka Accord of 1986.
  • It also played a pivotal role in Operation Parakram, which was carried out in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament.
  • By establishing a blockade against Pakistan during the 1999 Kargil War, the INS Viraat also played a crucial part in Operation Vijay.
  • The INS Viraat has played a pivotal role in spearheading India's maritime resurgence. Since 1987, the ship's deck launched 22,034 hours of flying, it spent 2,250 days at sea sailing over 5.8 lakh Nautical Miles.
  • It was decommissioned from service on March 06, 2017.


  • Russia's refurbished Admiral Gorshkov was commissioned into the Indian Navy as INS Vikramaditya at Severodvinsk, Russia on November 16, 2013.
  • It is a state- of-the-art ship, capable of operating a versatile range of high-performance aircrafts, such as the MiG 29K fighters, KM 31 AEW helicopters, multi-role Seakings and utility Chetaks.
  • The ship is over 285 meters long and 60 meters wide, making it the biggest ship in the Indian Navy. Her 23 decks scale a height of 60 meters.


  • The 262-metre-long carrier has a full displacement of close to 45,000 tonnes which is much larger and advanced than her predecessor.
  • The ship is powered by four Gas Turbines totaling 88 MW power and has a maximum speed of 28 Knots.
  • Built at an overall cost of close to Rs. 20,000 crores, the project has been progressed in three Phases of contract between MoD and CSL. It has an overall indigenous content of 76%.
  • Vikrant has been built with a high degree of automation for machinery operation, ship navigation, and survivability, and has been designed to accommodate an assortment of fixed-wing and rotary aircraft.
  • The ship would be capable of operating air wing consisting of 30 aircraft comprising of MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31, MH-60R multi-role helicopters, in addition to indigenously manufactured Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) (Navy).
  • Using a novel aircraft operation mode known as STOBAR (Short Take-Off but Arrested Landing), the IAC is equipped with a ski-jump for launching aircraft, and a set of 'arrester wires' for their recovery onboard.
Indian Navy’s new Ensign

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi unfurled the new Naval Ensign (flag), which carries the seal of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the man who built a modern navy.

  • In a bid to do away with the “colonial past”, the Saint George’s Cross has been removed from the Indian Navy’s new flag. Instead, it now features the national emblem with the Tricolour on the upper canton (top left corner of flag).
  • The national emblem is encompassed by an octagonal shield and sits atop an anchor. Beneath it is the Navy’s motto ‘Sam No Varunah’.
  • The golden border surrounding the national emblem draws inspiration from the seal of Indian emperor Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and depicts steadfastness.
  • The octagonal shape of the national emblem has been designed to represent eight directions, symbolising the multi-directional reach and multi-dimensional operational capability of the Indian Navy.

  • The new ensign is a successor to the pre-Independence ensign of the Indian Navy, featuring the Saint George’s Cross on a white background with the Tricolour in the canton.
  • The previous ensign carried the Saint George’s Cross and was a successor to the pre-independence ensign which had the red Cross on a white background with the Union Jack of the United Kingdom on the top left corner.

7. Port-led Development


  • This chapter is dedicated to the Sagarmala Project.
  • Sagarmala is the flagship programme of the Ministry of Shipping to promote port-led development in the country through harnessing India's 7,500 km long coastline, 14,500 km of potentially navigable waterways and strategic location on key international maritime trade routes.


  • The main vision of the Sagarmala Programme is to reduce logistics cost for international and domestic trade with minimal infrastructure investment.
  • The Sagarmala initiative will address challenges by focusing on three pillars of development, namely:
    • Supporting and enabling Port-led Development through appropriate policy and institutional interventions and providing for an institutional framework for ensuring inter-agency and ministries/departments/states’ collaboration for integrated development,
    • Port Infrastructure Enhancement, including modernization and setting up of new ports, and
    • Efficient Evacuation to and from hinterland.
  • The Sagarmala Project therefore intends to achieve the broad objectives of enhancing the capacity of major and non-major ports and modernizing them to make them efficient, thereby enabling them to become drivers of port-led economic development, optimizing the use of existing and future transport assets and developing new lines/linkages for transport (including roads, rail, inland waterways and coastal routes), setting up of logistics hubs, and establishment of industries and manufacturing centres to be served by ports in EXIM and domestic trade.
  • In addition to strengthening port and evacuation infrastructure, it also aims at simplifying procedures used at ports for cargo movement and promotes usage of electronic channels for information exchange leading to quick, efficient, hassle-free and seamless cargo movement.
  • As part of the coastal community development component of the Sagarmala Programme, Ministry is part-funding fishing harbour projects in convergence with Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DADF).
  • For promoting tourism in maritime states under Sagarmala, projects have been identified in convergence with the Ministry of Tourism. Key coastal tourism projects include:
    • Development of Coastal Circuits under Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism
    • Development of infrastructure for promoting Cruise
    • Tourism Development of lighthouses
    • National Maritime Heritage Museum Complex at Lothal
    • Underwater viewing gallery and restaurant at Beyt Dwarka


  • The Sagarmala Project is an important step toward realising the full potential of the Blue Revolution and Economy.

8. Indian Coastal Community and Climate Change


  • Most of India’s coastal regions are low-lying and densely populated, with nearly 250 million people living within 50 km of the coast.
  • The country has a total of 1382 offshore islands, comprising 514 Islands along the mainland coast and 868 Islands in the island territories (Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep).
  • Among the 1382 offshore islands, 346 islands are inhabited.
  • As per the Census data of 2011, there are 486 census towns along the coast of India, accounting for a population of 41.7 million constituting 20.7% of the total coastal population.
  • The coastal areas of India experience tropical climates and have diverse geological, geomorphologic, and ecological setups.
  • India's coast is vulnerable to exponential developmental activities coupled with climate change impacts.
  • The National Environment Policy (2006) has indicated that in the future, sea level rise due to climate change may have major adverse impacts on the coastal environment.
  • The Coastal Zone Management Guidelines of India emphasise strengthening the coping capacity of coastal communities to face the challenge of sea-level rise caused by climate change, as well as the more frequent occurrence of tsunamis and cyclones to protect the life and livelihoods.
  • The Coastal Regulation Zone Notification (2019) under Environment Protection Act (1986) directs to clear the developmental projects in the coastal areas after considering the disaster risks including climate change risks such as SLR and other natural disasters.


  • Globally, the rate of sea-level rise is about 4.5 mm per year. It is projected that SLR risks 10% of the coastal population living in the low-lying coastal region within a 10-m elevation of Mean Sea Level (MSL).
  • SLR results in a combination of risks in retreat, submersion, erosion, and increased vulnerability to extreme marine events.
  • SLR is a predicted consequence of climate change however, regional variations due to local subsidence, tectonic upliftment and ocean currents similar to the El Niño shall differentiate the rate of local level SLR.
  • To protect the life and livelihoods of coastal communities, MOEF&CC through the Survey of India and the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) has prepared the Hazard Line (HL) map.


  • Sea surface temperature (SST) is the water temperature close to the ocean's surface. As greenhouse gases trap energy from the sun, the oceans absorb heat, resulting in an increase in SST.
  • Changes in the ocean temperatures and currents increase SST and lead to alterations in climate patterns around the world.
  • An increase in SST enhances ocean acidification, salinity, and longshore current patterns that influence the primary production and fish stock in the sea.
    • SST affects fish migrations, fish physiology, fish breeding, fish recruitment, and habitat
  • Change of SST not only affects fish stock and biomass but also influences cyclogenesis (development or strengthening of cyclonic circulation in the atmosphere), as the warm waters could transform tropical disturbances into cyclones.
  • Tropical disturbances normally become cyclones if the SST is more than 26°C.


  • The wave energy closer to the shore leads to an increase in shoreline changes in soft rocks and beaches.
  • Based on the results of trend analysis, the coastal stretches of India have been classified as stable, accreting, low erosion, medium erosion, and high erosion coasts.
  • Accordingly, the high erosion (HER) site is where the erosion is higher than -5m/yr, and medium erosion (MER) is between -2m/yr. and -5m/yr and low erosion (LER) coast if it ranges from -0.5m/yr to -2m/yr. Stable coast (ST) is where the erosion or accretion rate is within the range of -0.5m/yr to + 0.5m/yr.
  • Construction of seawalls, groynes, training walls, breakwaters, and other protection structures on the shores to reduce the impacts of SLR, wave action, and erosion are classified as artificial coasts (AC).
  • Shoreline changes cause social and economical effects on livelihoods, property, recreation and tourism, ecosystem services, resilience, and vulnerability.


  • The coastline has undergone physical changes throughout its geological past due to continuous wave actions, floods, cyclones, earthquakes, and tsunamis.
  • Besides cyclones, tidal range, storm period, high tide water level, shoaling waves, river discharge, and rainfall-driven runoff also contribute to flooding in coastal areas.
  • During the 21st century, there has been an increase in the occurrence and severity of flood hazards in India.
  • Cyclones and floods cause casualties, and injuries besides the devastation of coastal infrastructures, road networks, schools, cyclone centres, health centres, houses, and, other common properties which are livelihood capitals and assets of coastal communities.


  • Saltwater intrusions in near-shore areas are very common in many coastal districts of India.
  • Seawater intrusion problem takes place in the dug wells and bore wells of households and enterprises which are close to the shore, during the summer months.
  • The primary data of the coastal villages in coastal districts indicate that there are saltwater intrusions in near-shore freshwater sources during the summer season as most people use bore wells and municipal water for drinking and other domestic purposes.
  • Water sample analysis of the wells in coastal districts results that the ratio of CI/(CO3+HCO3) being contaminated in many coastal areas.
  • In addition, overharvesting of water from coastal aquifers, SLR by variations in atmospheric pressures, expansion of summer, and melting of ice sheets and glaciers impose additional saline water intrusion.
  • As a result, an aggravated saltwater intrusion is expected in many coastal stretches in the near future.
  • Saltwater intrusion affects the productivity of horticulture and livestock. Reduction in income and expenditure for potable water reduces the savings of indigenous communities and increases their debt.
  • Raising the groundwater table in the fishing village using suitable methods may be one way of mitigating the intrusion of saltwater in coastal stretches.


  • Climate change parameters also increase drought conditions in coastal areas.
  • However, drought affects the coastal village through prolonged shortages in the water supply on the surface and groundwater.


  • Climate change impacts the productivity of marine fisheries due to the increase of SST, changing current patterns, and upwelling affecting fish biology, especially reproductive biology, alteration of habitat, and migratory routes.
  • As different species behave differently based on their habitats to climate change, species that are resilient adapt to the changes whereas species that are vulnerable are susceptible.
  • It is difficult to detect the impacts of climate change on the distribution and diversity of fish populations though there are some indications such as the shift in Indian oil sardine shoals  due to the colder temperature and timely intense up-welling leading to nutrient enrichment in the surface waters in the west coast of India.
  • However, long-term data on capture fisheries inferred that the reduction in fish catches is not by overfishing alone but by a combination of fishing and climate change parameters.
  • Fishery is the source of income, source of protein, vitamins, and micronutrients for the coastal community.
  • A decrease in capture fishery influences in per capita income, revenues, wealth, and socio-economic status of the fishing community.


  • Prioritisation of problems due to climate change based on the risk and vulnerability using the Livelihood Vulnerability Index will support identifying the location-specific problems to mitigate climate change risks.
  • Coastal habitats shall be demarcated and suitable locations for shelter during the flood which are the high elevated areas along the coasts shall be identified.
  • In the potential saltwater intrusion areas and drought-prone areas, sites for water tanks in the coastal habitats shall be constructed.
  • The codes for the construction of buildings and infrastructure in cyclone-prone areas for disaster
    preparedness to mitigate climate change impacts should be incorporated into the building plans.
  • Creating awareness and mock drills on natural disasters through the district disaster management plan, Panchayat plans, and Hazard line map by the district disaster management authority would keep the coastal community prepared.

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