SAKSHAM PORTAL AND SEAWEED MISSION
- The Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) has launched two new initiatives – SAKSHAM (Shramik Shakti Manch) Job Portal and a Seaweed Mission.
- It is a dynamic portal for jobs/mapping the skills of Shramiks vis-à-vis requirements of MSMEs and other industries all across the country.
- The portal with the demand and supply data uses algorithm and Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, for geo-spatial information on demand and availability of Shramiks, and also provide analysis on skill training programmes of Shramiks.
- The pilot portal originally initiated with two districts is now being launched as an all India portal.
KEY FEATURES OF SAKSHAM:
- A dynamic job portal – opportunity for Shramiks and MSMEs.
- Facilitate creation of 10 lakh blue collar jobs
- Direct connect between Shramiks and MSMEs, no middleman in between
- Minimise migration of Shramiks – job opportunity in proximate MSMEs
- It is a mission for the commercial farming of seaweeds and its processing for value addition.
- Despite several advantages, commercial seaweeds cultivation has not been taking place in the country at an appropriate scale, as being practiced in South-East Asian countries.
- By an estimate, if cultivation is done in ≈10 million hectares or 5% of the EEZ area of India, it can provide employment to approximately 50 million people; set up new seaweed industry; contribute to national GDP; ocean productivity; abate algal blooms, sequester millions of tons CO2; contribute to a healthier ocean; provide bio-ethanol of 6.6 billion litres.
- Thus, with this objective, TIFAC will showcase a model, in collaboration with other in-line ministries, of the commercial farming of seaweeds and its processing. Seaweed Cultivation would help in boosting the economy.
- Seaweed Cultivation is also called kelp farming.
- It is the practice of cultivating and harvesting seaweeds.
- Seaweed, or macroalgae, refers to thousands of species of macroscopic, multicellular, marine algae.
- Seaweed species such as kelps provide essential nursery habitat for fisheries and other marine species and thus protect food sources; other species, such as planktonic algae, play a vital role in capturing carbon, producing up to 90% of Earth’s oxygen.
- They are the primitive, marine non-flowering marine algae without root, stem and leaves, play a major role in marine ecosystems.
- Large seaweeds form dense underwater forests known as kelp forests, which act as underwater nurseries for fish, snails and sea urchins.
- Some species of seaweeds viz. Gelidiella acerosa, Gracilaria edulis, Gracilaria crassa, Gracilaria verrucosa, Sargassum spp. and Turbinaria spp.
- Seaweeds, found mostly in the intertidal region, in shallow and deep waters of the sea and also in estuaries and backwaters.
- The southern Gulf of Mannar’s rocky intertidal and lower intertidal regions have rich populations of several seaweed species.
- Bioindicator: When waste from agriculture, industries, aquaculture and households are let into the ocean, it causes nutrient imbalance leading to algal blooming, the sign of marine chemical damage. Seaweeds absorb the excess nutrients and balance out the ecosystem.
- Iron Sequestrator: These aquatic organisms heavily rely on iron for photosynthesis. When the quantity of this mineral exceeds healthy levels and becomes dangerous to marine life, seaweeds trap it and prevent damage. Similarly, most heavy metals found in marine ecosystems are trapped and removed by seaweeds.
- Oxygen and Nutrient Supplier: On their part, the seaweeds derive nutrition through photosynthesis of sunlight and nutrients present in seawater. They release oxygen through every part of their bodies. They also supply organic nutrients to other marine life forms.
Role in Climate Mitigation:
- Seaweed has a significant role in mitigating climate change. By afforesting 9% of the ocean with seaweed, it is possible to sequester 53 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually. Hence, there is a proposal termed as ‘ocean afforestation’ for farming seaweed to remove carbon.