Coastal Housing Scheme Kerala – Brief Analysis
India is one of the top ranking fish exporting countries in the world. Surrounded by Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Bengal, our country has a large coastal area. Kerala is a South Indian state having Arabian Sea as its western border. In order to improve the life standards of the coastal fishermen both central and state governments of India taking several initiatives and welfare schemes are being introduced. Recently, the state government of Kerala introduced the Coastal Housing Scheme for the benefits of the coastal fishermen.
Coastal line in Kerala
- The coastal line of the state runs for a length of around six hundred Km. It contributes to one-tenth of our country’s total coastal line. There are around eleven fishing harbors in the state. Fishermen form almost three percent in total population of the state.
- In the state of Kerala, the coastal line occurs in more than 10 districts among those the Alappuzha and Kozhikode having coastal region areas more than any other districts.
- It has a continental shelf area about forty thousand Sq. Km. EEZ is around two lakh Sq. Km and it covers more than two hundred nautical miles far from the continental shelf. All these factors make fishing as one of the primary sector of economy.
Department of fisheries
Though, the department of the fisheries is formed in order to provide better governance and welfare schemes to the coastal line fishermen, the department act as the most important one when it comes to productivity. Owing to that reason the state government of Kerala implementing various development policies and plans for the further improvement of the department. Headed by Director of fisheries, it takes care of inland and marine fishery by focusing on the food, nutritional security, economic growth and social development of fishermen in the state. In spite of introducing several social welfare and also fishermen welfare schemes in the coastal regions of the state, the family members of the fisheries too gets various benefits under the several schemes and plans introduced by the state government of Kerala.
Several agencies such as KFWB, ADAK, ME, FFDA, FIRMA, NIFAM, Matsyafed, SAF and KSCADC function with different objectives for fishermen under this department. There are five stations for rescue operations. There are around ten technical schools for fisheries in the marine districts of the state under this department. In addition to that, Harbor Engineering Department (HED) functions as a service department under the fisheries department.
The coastal areas of the state are populated with more than two thousand people per Sq. Km. It is more than twice the average population density of the state. More than two hundred marine villages are located along the coastal line.
State of fishermen
Although fishery is a major source of economy in the state, the condition of fishermen is still worse in the state. Around eighty percent of the fishermen families have an annual income of around six thousand only. The poor condition of fishermen leads to lack of education, poor health, unemployment and unsanitary housing. According to reports, more than eleven thousand families out of the two lakh fishermen families don’t have a house fit for habitation. Over eleven thousand families are living homeless and landless in the state.
Kerala Government schemes for fishermen
- Education loans are provided for fishermen children doing professional courses at a meager interest rate. The loans can be repaid within five years after course completion.
- Micro finance of ten thousand rupees is given to fishermen in SHG’s who belong to BC or minority. Self employment programs which are assisted through this welfare loans schemes for the fishermen are provide with small interest rate compared with the normal interest rate offered by bankers.
Coastal housing scheme
It is yet another scheme launched by the state to provide housing to the poor fishermen in the coastal areas. This scheme was introduced following the reports received by the state on sea erosion and poor living condition of fishermen in coastal areas. In the first stage, around ninety six fishermen are selected from Kozhikode district to receive the benefits of this scheme. The Features of this scheme are as follows.
- Planned to implement in the financial year 2016-17, mass contact programs were conducted in the coastal regions of the state to create awareness among the people about the program. The state has planned to construct more than three thousand and six hundred houses in the financial year of 2017-18.
- Under this scheme, six lakh rupees will be given for buying lands and two lakh rupees for building houses. The fishermen must find suitable land eligible for construction of houses. The properties must fulfill the norms set by the state and must adhere to the Act of Coastal regulation zone.