Introduction The Earthquake in Jan. 2001 brought a lot of changes, both positive and negative in Kutch.

Especially Mundra has undergone some very drastic changes after earthquake mostly in terms of industrial development. One reason which can be attributed to this change is that Mundra has been announced as SEZ(Special Economic Zone) by the Government of Gujarat. Following that a lot of industries are already established and more are to be established in that area. These changes have raised few issues affecting the local people in Mundra Taluka, the livelihood of indigenous people of that area has come up as one of the very crucial issue. Thus KMVS has started working for issues of the local and indigenous people of Mundra. An overview of Kutch Kutch is the smallest district of Gujarat in terms of population and largest district of Gujarat (second largest of India) in terms of Area. The Archeological remains found in Dholavira, Nakhatrana, Mandvi, Anjar & Rapar Taluka have proven that a well developed Harrappan Civilization was prevalent in Kutch before 4000 years. A large quantity of Lignite, Bentonite & sub bituminous coal available in Kutch gives a clue that Kutch was densely populated with Forests and trees and then those forest must have been suddenly washed away by sea water and sand due to some natural disaster. Mundra Taluka Mundra Taluka is located on the coastline having no major hills but only a slope of 'Dhola Dungar' in its northern part. The four lakes of Bhuj Taluka named as Sakda, Fot, Nagmati & Bhukhi pass through Mundra to meet the Arabian Sea. The Average Rainfall is 440 m.m. It rains for an average of 15 days per year Introduction to the coastline of Kutch As compared to the total coastline of 7000 kms in India, Gujarat holds 1665 Kms which comes to 22% of the total coastline. And, out of the total coastline of 1665 kms in Gujarat, Kutch is blessed with 405 kms of coastline which is almost 1/4th of the total

coastline of Gujarat, making 3800 Fisher Families and 18000 individuals dependent upon it. The coastline is very rich in terms of marine ecology with islands and different types of flora and fauna. Marine biology of Kutch and its importance Fishing becomes one of the very crucial activities for so many people living around the coastline of Kutch. In 1997-98 the total production in the State is estimated to be around 7.7 lac tons generating a turnover of around Rs.1266 Crores. Out of the total Marine Production in the State, the contribution of Fish is 91%. In 1997-98, 125560 tons of fish worth Rs.638 Crores were exported, While, the total production in Kutch including prawns, Crabs etc in 1997-98 is estimated to be around 86000 Tons. Kutch provides a very conducive environment for fishing activity. The Fish named Bombay Duck is available in plenty in the coastline of Kutch, following which comes Crabs(450 tons), prawns (3230 tons) & Lobster(95 tons). 70,000 people located in the area nr. Surajbari bridge and other coaster belts are estimated to be involved in the collection and sale of prawns as their main source of livelihood. Pinkted phukat is one type of perl shells which as per one survey was produced in the quantity of 699200 units during the period of 19131967. But, due to very less economic significance of that product the production has been stopped since last 6 years.

In the situation of drought, the eatable shellfishes (which are collected by the fisher folks without boat from the shallow and muddy water) prove to be a very important source of diet/food for the poor families. Moreover, the also have a huge collection of conches collected from the deep water. According to one survey it is estimated that 3,72,000 conches were collected between 1955-1981. They also catch octopus, which is found in large quantity over there. On an average, one fisher fold involved in the fishing business catches 2 kg. of octopus on daily basis. The environmental situation of the coastline and its impact The surrounding areas of the coastline have a very Dry climate with a min. temp. of 7.8 cent. in January and maximum 44.8 registered till date. The water temperature varies

in the range of 15 cent. - 30 Centi.. It rains for an average of 14 days per year with an average rainfall of 400 mm. The rains are very irregular and erratic in nature. The level of Humidity in Nov./Dec. is around 50% while its 80% in the monsoon. The size of a tidal wave ranges between 1.6 meters & 5.9 meters, which is less compared to other areas. Thus, this size of tidal waves makes it very easy for the fisher folks to fish around the coastline without a boat. Introduction to the area Mundra Taluka is located on the southern coastline of Kutch. The south-eastern part is covered with the reservoir, while in the east is Anjar, west is Mandvi Taluka and North is Bhuj. Due to the good environmental conditions Mundra is considered as Paris of Kutch. Mundra Taluka is the smallest taluka of Kutch with an area of 888.15 Sq. Kms. According the census of 2001 the total population of Mundra was 83,010 (42311 males and 40699 females) in 63 villages. Mundra Taluka has the representations of Jain, Bhatia, Vagher, Lohana, Charan, Rajput, Harijan, Muslim & Brahmin spread all over. Present status of the fishing community of Mundra Taluka The communities located around the coastline are involved in mainly three different occupations namely, Agriculture, Fishing and cattle. All the three occupations are very much related to the Marine ecology. For and instance, only crops suitable to the marine environment are grown. Similarly, the cattle feed also depends very much upon the coastal grasslands and, the communities of around 59 villages is dependent upon the activity of fishing as their main source of livelihood. Moreover, there are 7 fisher villages and 9 fishing communities (Muslim Vagher have the maximum representation) involving 9000 people who are dependent upon the marine biology as their main source of income. Fishing around this area is done is mainly two ways, one is with boat and other way is without boat in shallow water. The families involved in fishing without boat travel on a bicycle or a donkey cart from their village to the coast line on daily basis, while those with the boat shift their residence and live very near to the coast for a 8 month season.

Following the industrial revolution, the fishing sector (as any other sector) has undergone lot of changes. For an instance, till 1980 all the fishing was done in a traditional way but as technology entered the sector a lot of other avenues opened in the marine sector like opening up of export market increased the fishing activity and number of people involved in fishing also increased which in turn resulted into increased pollution in the sea coast. Also, a large private port and a oil company are responsible for increased pollution due to cutting of mangroves and other trees along/inside the coastline. Moreover, the community living along the coastline faces a lot of issues like lack of basic facilities including water, health, education, transportation etc, which in turn have a huge impact on education of the children, health of women and a lot of other issues eg. as there is no facility of road, transport and communication the community has become isolated from the market and a large business outside their area which has resulted into their exploitation in the form of bonded labor by the local traders(they still pay the rates prevalent in 1992 for all the product of the fisher folks). Most of the people in the community have fallen prey to a very chronic debt trap lasting through generations. To worsen the already worst situation of the fishing community, the government has permitted a large corporate group called Adani group to start a Special Economic Zone violating all laws prevalent presently due to which 5 fishing communities out of 9 will have to evacuate their years old business and residence place. Majority of the people of these communities are illiterate and have only one skill i.e. fishing to survive if they will be refrained from doing fishing it would create a very serious trouble for them and serious threat to their and their families life.

A total of 3650 families are involved in Fishing related activities, which is their main source of livelihood. A total of 18138 people are estimated to be dependent on Fishing as a main source of their livelihood*. # 1 2 3 Name of the Port Randh Bawdi Luni 1.0 0.5 2.0 Area (in Sq. Kms.)

4 5 6

Vira Juna Field Bharudia

0.6 0.5 0.5

Mundra holds quite a considerable and crucial portion of coastline. Majority of all the industries are located and to be located near that coastline, which is for sure going to have a huge impact on the local communities who are involved in fishing related activities since generations. Thus, it becomes important to systematically study and analyse the livelihood situation of this area in the present context.

This and all the statistical information regarding the fishing community and area is provided the Fisheries Department office, BhujKutch.

Objectives of the Study

To understand the Factors responsible behind the exploitation of the fisher community and reasons for the same.

Issues and limitations that the fisher community faces while doing the business which results into their exploitation.

Current Credit Scenario and process of availing the credit from the Traders & Moneylenders.

Study the Income & Expenditure Flows and patterns through the seasons (productive season and off season) and prepare a cash flow.

To prepare a Credit Plan based upon the above analysis(If Required).

Need, implications & relevance of such a Study This study would help understand these local institutions about the intricacies and credit situation for fishing related activities in Mundra. It would also clearly show the risks involved (also potential risks in future) and profitability in this business. The cash flow will depict the real financial situation of the families of boat owners and people involved in fishing without boat. A special credit package suitable to the needs of the fisher community will be prepared which can be a step forward to curb the exploitation of that community and a more conducive environment supporting their socio economic development can be thus created. Methodology Six ports of Mundra named Randh, Bawdi, Vira, Luni, Juna Field and Bharudia as mentioned earlier were being studied. Out of a total of 747 families, The technique of functional sampling was used so that both kind of families - with boat and without boat can be involved. Following methods were used in the study: Interview A total of 88 Families(12% of 747) were being interviewed. They were being selected functionally to involve households of different economic class prevailing in the community. Following is broad economic situation of the families involved in the interview. Poor Upper Income between Rs. 0 – 40,000 Income above Rs. 80,000 09 Families (10.23%) 47 Families (53.41%)

Middle Income between Rs. 40,000 – 80,000 32 Families (36.36%)

Focus Group Discussions(FGD) To get a holistic picture of the situation the FGD was being conducted with following different groups:
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Field Staff of SETU & Ujjas. Local Traders and Middlemen.

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Officers/Staff of Fisheries Department. Fisher folks of different categories(Juna & Vira ports).

What is a Company?

• A Company is a business organisation • It is owned by those who invest money in it in the form of shares • It provides products and services to those need those and are willing to pay for those (consumers) • No link between owners and users of service (consumers) • Decision making power (voting rights) are in proportion to share holding; those who have larger investments take the decisions • It is expected to make profits • The profit goes to the investors in proportion to their investment (shares) • A company has complete freedom to do its business • But tightly monitored by Registrar of Companies to see that it is complying with the Companies Act • timely meetings, elections, • proper records, proper audit, • Protection of share holder rights

What is a cooperative?

• It is also a business organisation • Unlike a normal company, its owners are those who use its services • The main benefit the owners expect is not return on investment (shares) but on the benefit to their livelihood from the services of the cooperative • Hence all members have equal power (one member—one vote) irrespective of share holding • There is a limit to dividend payable and more benefits are provided in proportion to use of services or transactions done by member • It is the ideal form of organisation when a large number of small producers come together for collective business

Problems with Coop law

• Cooperatives fail due to many reasons • An important, but not the only, reason is that the cooperative law is itself flawed in many states of India, including Gujarat • Too much power is vested with the Government through the Registrar of Cooperatives • This puts hurdles for decision making: staff appointments, opening of branches, etc. • This leads to bureaucratic interference through audit powers and power to supersede Board • Govt share capital which brings Govt representatives to the Board and make work against interest of members • Political interference via Registrar and even take-over

What is a Producer Company?

• It is essentially a cooperative organisation functioning within the Company Law • It retains many of the features of a cooperative while bringing the following benefits of a company – – Autonomy in management Good monitoring over legal compliances

• A producer company helps us run a collective business without outside interference but ensures that the business is done in a disciplined way

Main features of Producer Company

• Membership can be given to individuals and/or producer groups (unregistered as well) • One member—one vote or in the case of producer groups, voting can be on the basis of business done with company • Limited dividend like cooperative • Withheld price can be distributed at end of season • Surplus can be shared in proportion of business with member • Freedom to decide on all internal affairs—staff appointments, elections, audit, etc. • Board size of 5 to 15 Directors including experts who can be inducted • Good rules to avoid misuse of company by directors • • Loans to Directors to be approved by General Body Directors will lose position if they do not conduct regular meetings,

submit accounts regularly • Loss suffered by company on account of illegal decisions by Directors

will have to be paid by Directors

• •
 

Gap between annual general meetings should not exceed 15 months Importance of professional management stressed by Act Full time Chief Executive required Company Secretary to be appointed if turnover exceeds 5 crores

Who are the producers?

• We visualise a “producer organisation” • There are different actors in the production process • Fishermen going on boats with nets • Fishermen and women fishing with nets in the inter-tidal zone • Fishermen and women involved in carrying fish to the shore and sorting them for sale as fresh fish or for drying • Drying and processing operations involving men, women and children • All other workers handling fish before sale takes place to trader or collective organisation • Farmers • • • ............

 

Who will be the members?

Though different categories of persons are involved in production, ours will be an organisation whose primary function is marketing of fish

So, membership should be mainly with those who own the produce and can take a decision on its sale

Ownership of fishing equipment is key to right over produce—hence owners should be mainstay of collective

Ownership is family based with men mainly involved in fishing and women mainly in processing.

Hence both men and women from a family owning fishing equipment should be members of the collective

However, categories of persons who can use the marketing services on a limited basis (maybe prawns by pagadiyas) or who can use some of the secondary services (savings, credit, insurance, etc.) can be integrated into membership in a manner that will restrict their rights or involvement in governance.

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What is the structure visualised?

It will be a two tiered organisation
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Field level organisation District level organisation

Field level organisation will be responsible for – – – –

Procurement of fish for marketing from individual members Providing facilities for members to handle fish and process it Ensuring quality of product Supplying fish as per district organisation instructions Maintaining records for Field level and individual member transactions All decisions related to providing individual benefits like loans

District level organisation • Responsible for overall planning and intervention • Will organise the marketing: • Negotiate terms with traders, exporters, etc. • Direct sale to markets, if found necessary

Ensure collection of money and payments to Fields/members

• Deal with banks, financial institutions and other sources for credit and financial services
• •

Supervise Field level organisation and operations Expand activities to all Fields (with support of local NGOs)

• Appoint staff for district level and branch level activities; train staff • Develop/manage funds for business, credit and other services • Plan and implement infrastructure projects • Own and manage collective facilities like ice plants, go-downs, cold storage, fish vans, etc. • Deal with the outside world: Donors, Govt., NGOs, etc.

Will go by branch/Field committee on providing individual benefits.

Field—District relationship

Field organisation will have a certain autonomy with local members electing their own committee and managing the Field level functions

However, from a business, accounts and legal point of view, the Field organisation will be treated as a branch of the District level organisation

This means all members will be members of the District organisation and all the business transactions will be done at the Field level in the name of the district organisation


• One male member and one female member from each equipment owning family

All members at Field level will elect 6 member committee with 3 men & 3 women

Field committee will take responsibility for branch level activitiesDistrict level organisation will have the following bodies

General body in which all the individual members (from all Fields) will be participants; may meet only once a year

• Programme committee with two representatives from each branch (1 male, 1 female) • Board of Directors with five members initially and will grow as membership grows (subject to limits prescribed by law) • Board of Directors will be selected by Programme committee and appointed by General Body • Majority of Board will consist of persons selected from among the primary members. Will also representatives of supporting organisations (Abhiyan-Setu, KMVS and NFT) and outside experts, if needed • Board composition should ensure balance between male and female representation, representation of all regions of the district and all categories of producer-members.

In case the pagadiyas, crew fishermen and other categories who may not be able to maintain minimum level of transactions or only can use secondary functions, the possibility of giving membership to groups of such fish workers needs to be considered. At Board level one or two representatives for such groups can be given to ensure that their voices will be heard

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Role of Different Bodies General Body

     

To approve annual accounts, budget, work plan To appoint Board selected by Programming Committee To approve by-laws and amendments Appoint auditor To give policy guidelines

Programme committee
 

To review all activities and programmes on a regular basis To select Board members and put up to General Body for appointment

Board of Directors
   

Overall responsibility for management of organisation Appointment of Chief Executive and staff and fixing their work and terms Providing policy directions to Chief Executive Approval of accounts on regular basis and placing of annual report and account to general body annually

Sanction of loans, etc.

Governance—Three way partnership

• The ownership of the collective and its ultimate responsibility will lie with the primary members—fishermen and fisherwomen • However, a large marketing/business organisation is a complex operation dealing with a fast changing outside world and markets

Hence the regular business or operations require qualified professionals as Executives and staff who must be given freedom to run day to day operations with overall supervision and policy decision from the BoardElected representatives and Executive partnership is often difficult

• It swings between two extremes: too much interference in day to day activities by elected representatives to the detriment of the organisation

• Or too much freedom or power to the executives to the detriment of the organisation • Need for independent directors is essential as they bring neutrality and objectivity; they also bring knowledge, expertise and useful links to the outside world • The support NGOs will nominate individuals to be on the Board • Thus for the healthy development and functioning of the new collective we need a three-way partnership between fishing community—Executives—NGOs

Use of 5% commission

• To pay for all the operating costs of the branch level operations and district level operations • To set apart funds for future capital requirements like setting up marketing infrastructure, working capital, etc. To provide additional price or profit share to members which may be given as cash or as shares (to be decided by Board)

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