Port Blair, Feb.05: The Member, NITI Aayog, Dr. V K Saraswat along with his team arrived on a five day visit to the Islands yesterday. The NITI Aayog team held a meeting on ‘Sustainable Island Development: a stakeholders meeting on Andaman’ in the conference hall of National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) Dollygunj here today. The Member, NITI Aayog, Dr. V K Saraswat and the Chief Secretary, A&N Administration, Mr. Anindo Majumdar were present in the meeting.
Delivering his keynote address, Dr. Saraswat gave an overview of the sustainable development and said that marine based environmentally sustainable economic development and social well being go hand in hand. “While carrying out economic activities, we must keep in mind that we have something to preserve for the future”, he said.
About NITI Aayog’s projects on holistic development of identified Islands, Dr. Saraswat said, the NITI Aayog aims at promoting and implementing the holistic development of selected Islands on an integral economic base for each Island individually or follow a cluster approach, which may eventually lead to those places emerging as maritime economy based international tourism destinations on a sustainable basis.
The NITI Aayog Member also threw light on various steps and challenges in sustainable development such as global marine pollution, the blue economy, proxies, social, environment and economy.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Secretary highlighted the Islands’ potential in sectors such as tourism, fisheries and agriculture, which are the Islands economy. “While exploring sustainable development, we must keep in mind the fragile eco-system of the Islands, its people, especially the tribal people of the Islands, carrying capacity of the Islands, etc”, he said and expressed hope that the meeting will come out with positive outputs for better future planning.
Giving an overview of the meeting, Dr. Selja Worah of World Wide Fund (WWF) India said that the meeting aims at discussing matters on sustainable development, economic growth and marine coastal issues. It is difficult to have a single model for different places as they have different complexity and need separate models, she said citing example of the A & N Islands, which has unique eco-system.
Three presentations were made during the meeting. Mr. Mukhtar Ahmad of ITE Global made a power point presentation on ‘Holistic Development of Islands: Project update’ while Ms. Swathi Seshadri of Equations made power point presentation on ‘Sustainable Island Tourism: Key Principles’ and Dr. Naveen Namboothri of Dakshin Foundation on ‘Sustainable Fisheries=Sustainable livelihood’.