The Central Government has given its nod for an Rs.8,000 crore mission to explore the deepest regions of the oceans surrounding the country as part of an exercise to promote sustainable use of the vast living and non-living ocean resources that remain untapped.
Disclosing this, Secretary, Ministry of Earth sciences, Dr. Madhavan Rajeevan, said the Government has given in-principle approval for the mission and now his Ministry will draw up the expenditure plan and circulate it to relevant organizations for implementation. It is an integrated program in which several scientific departments such as Department of Science and Technology, Indian Space Research Organisation, Department of Biotechnology, Defence Research and Development Organisation, and Indian Council of Agricultural Research would work together.
Noting that the Government was focussing on leveraging the blue economy for the countryÂs overall economic growth, he said the Mission was one of the transformative ideas of the GovernmentÂs 100-day programmes. ÂI am confident that we would be able to launch the Deep Ocean Mission by October endÂ.
A major thrust of the Mission will be to look for metals and minerals. The United NationÂsInternational seabed Authority has allotted to India a site of 75,000 sq. km in the Central Indian Ocean Basin for exploitation of Polymetallic Nodules which are scattered on the seabed. The rock like material contained several valuable metals and minerals such as Manganese, Nickel and Cobalt.
Dr. Rajeevan was speaking at a function to mark the Foundation Day of the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
On the occasion, Union Minister for Earth Sciences, Science and Technology and Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, launched a mobile application developed by the Ministry of Earth Sciences that will provide agro-meteorology-related advisory services to farmers at the touch of a button. He also unveiled new websites for India Meteorology Department and the National Centre for Seismology.
Further, he presented the life Time Excellence Award in the sphere of Earth System Sciences to Prof.J.Srinnivasan for his wide range of contributions to the climate science over the past 46 years and the national awards in the fields of Ocean Science and Technology, Atmospheric Science and Technology and Geoscience and Technology to Prof D.Shankar, Prof.S.K.Sateesh, and Prof.G.V.R.Prasad respectively and the National award for Women Scientist to Prof C.Manikyamba.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan urged scientists and officials associated with the Ministry of Earth Sciences to strive to build advanced knowledge-based multi-hazard early warning and decision support systems for various natural disasters and asked them to explore ways to create greater awareness about the MinistryÂs activities among children.ÂThe Ministry of Earth Sciences is doing a lot of good work. The common man needs to be made aware of this. We can do it through childrenÂ.
(India Science Wire)