New Delhi, Nov 30 (PTI) India has lodged strong protests with Pakistan and Sri Lanka over incidences of Indian fishing boats being attacked by their maritime agencies, Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Parshottam Rupala said on Tuesday.

“Incidences of Indian fishing boats being attacked by maritime agencies of Sri Lanka and Pakistan have been reported. The government of India attaches highest priority to the safety and security of Indian fishermen. As soon as reports of attack on Indian fishermen were received, Government of India took up the matter with both these countries,” he said in reply to a written question in the Lok Sabha.

Rupala said the government has lodged its strong protests with the Governments of Sri Lanka and Pakistan in all such instances.

India continues to reiterate to these governments to consider the issue of fishermen as a humanitarian and livelihood matter, he added.

“To effectively address the issues relating to Indian fishermen, their safety and security between India and Sri Lanka, over the years, bilateral Joint Working Group (JWG) mechanism and meeting of the Honourable Ministers of Fisheries of India and Sri Lanka have been institutionalized,” the minister said.

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The last round of the JWG was held in December, 2020, wherein both the governments discussed the entire gamut of issues related to fishermen.

The minister said the government is providing assistance to the fisherman under its schemes.

The Department of Fisheries is implementing a flagship scheme namely “Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) with an investment of Rs 20,050 crore for a period of five years with effect from the financial year 2020-21 to 2024-25 in all States and Union Territories.

Under PMMSY, financial support is provided to fishermen for communication/ tracking and Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ) devices, safety kits besides livelihood and nutritional supports as well as insurance.

The PMMSY also provides for multipurpose support services to fishermen through Sagar Mitras. It also provides for financial assistance for promotion of seaweed cultivation, open sea cage culture, seed rearing, bivalve cultivation, recreational fisheries and sea ranching to marine fishers for diversification of livelihood. PTI MJH CS MR MR

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