20 lakh fishermen to get biometric cards by June

20 lakh fishermen to get biometric cards by June

Cards to be valid identity proofs for fishermen, says govt official

Authorities should expedite the process of issuing biometric cards and the registration of fishermen, said Ashok Kumar Angurana, Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

“The biometric cards should be issued to each of the 20 lakh fishermen in the country by June this year,” he instructed.

He was delivering a key-note address at the national workshop on the application of space technology in fisheries in the City on Monday.

“The government has decided to issue biometric cards to 20 lakh – out of the 1.5 crore – fishermen. The biometric cards have already been issued to around 13.20 lakh fishermen, and the rest of the fishermen should get their cards at the earliest. The issue of the cards is critical to roll out the benefits of the Central and State government schemes to the stakeholders,” said the secretary.

Security measure
Explaining the process further, Angurana said, “The issuing of biometric cards and the registration of fishermen are both being implemented to provide security along the vast coastline of the country as well as to protect the people fishing near international waters. The cards will as valid identity proofs for the fishermen. The issue of the cards is being taken up by a consortium of three Central public sector undertaking: Bharat Electronics (BEL), Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) and Indian Telephone Industries Limited (ITI). The respective State governments and the union territories should mobilise the remaining fishermen to allow the respective PSUs to hold camps to issue the biometric cards.”

Once the biometric cards are issued, then the sharing of data on potential fishing zones in the sea and the accurate weather forecast will be made easy for registered fishermen, he explained.

Angurana said urged the respective State governments to augment and strengthen the monitoring control and surveillance stations across the country. “There are 166 such monitoring control and surveillance stations and they need to be streamlined with additional staff and equipment,” he said.

He also explained that the objective of the workshop was to explore the possibility of adoption of space technology in fisheries and to promote and the use of space applications by various stakeholders. “It is proposed to develop an action plan to adopt space technology for the benefit of fishermen. Accurate weather forecasting will provide safety to fishermen who are at sea,” he reminded.

‘No uniform ban’
When asked about the uniform ban on fishing, Angurana said that the ban was not applicable within territorial waters. “The fishing season varies between east and west coasts. The ban has been imposed to allow fish to breed. The ban period range is from April 1 to August 30 in the country,” he clarified.

In Karnataka, 3,900 mechanised boats, 6,500 motorised vessels and 9,000 traditional boats have been registered under the Real Craft, which is a workflow-based online application system for vessel registration to the fishing vessels working along the Indian coast.

Inaugurating the workshop, Minister for Fisheries, Youth Empowerment and Sports Abhayachandra Jain sought additional budgetary allocations from the Central government for the modernisation of fishing harbours.

“The Centre should emphasise on modernisation and provide infrastructure for development of fishing harbours, ice plants and cold storage units. There is also a need to develop an integrated approach for vessel monitoring and sending of distress signals to fishermen,” he requested.