Sarbananda Sonowal, India’s Union Minister, emphasized the contribution of the country’s seafarers in making India self-reliant, and keeping the global supply chain operational during the COVID-19 crisis, on Tuesday. The minister added that during the peak of the pandemic, over 2, 10,000 Indian seafarers were serving on foreign and Indian vessels last year.
This made sure that global and Indian trade- and commerce-related activities could go on unhindered. He said that with Indian seafarers working in the ongoing pandemic all over the world, we have managed to set a great example for the world. Our actions speak of our ancient ethos and Vasudaiva Kutumbakam, meaning that the world is one and the same family.
The minister also surpassed confidence that the country would be leading the world via the maritime sector in the future years. He added that the Indian cruise industry is rapidly growing due to several massive government interventions taking place over the last three years.
By the next decade, India’s cruise market is likely to increase by eight times due to the rising disposable incomes and demand, he mentioned. The minister congratulated the maritime fraternity stakeholders on the 59th National Maritime Day.
The National Maritime Day is meant to commemorate the first-ever ship that set sail with the Indian Flag, SS Loyalty, on April 5, 1919. To celebrate this, a walkathon was conducted at the Safdarjung Tomb. It was led by the Minister of State Shantanu Thakur with the port and Ministry officials and 600 trainee cadets, faculty members from prestigious maritime institutes, and merchant navy officers in the national capital.
Mentioning that in world shipping from 2016 to 2019, the share of Indian seafarers has reportedly risen by 25%, the Minister highlighted that 1,17,090 seafarers were employed in India in 2014. The number rose to 2, 05,789 a growth of nearly 76% in about seven years. The goal is to further increase the country’s seafaring share from 12% of the world market and reach 20% by 2030.