The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Tuesday gave its approval for continuation of the umbrella scheme "Ocean Services, Modelling, Application, Resources and Technology (O-SMART)" of Ministry of Earth Sciences, for implementation during the period from 2021-26 at an overall cost of Rs. 2177 crore.
The scheme encompasses seven sub-schemes namely Ocean Technology, Ocean Modelling and Advisory Services (OMAS), Ocean Observation Network (OON), Ocean Non-Living Resources, Marine Living Resources and Ecology (MLRE), Coastal Research and Operation and Maintenance of Research Vessels.
These sub-schemes are being implemented by autonomous/attached institutes of the Ministry, viz. National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai; Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad; National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa, Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology (CMLRE), Kochi; and National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR), Chennai as well as involving other national institutes.
The research and technology development pertaining to oceans in India was initiated by Department of Ocean Development (DoD), which was set up in 1981 which later merged to Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
The O-SMART scheme encompassing oceanographic research activities is being implemented with the objectives for providing forecast and services based on the continuous observation of our oceans, development of technologies and exploratory surveys for sustainable harnessing of our oceanic resources (both living and non-living) and promotion of front-ranking research in ocean sciences.
Several major milestones have been achieved through the activities of the scheme, the most significant is India's recognition as Pioneer Investor with International Seabed Authority (ISA) for conducting extensive research on deep sea mining of Poly Metallic Nodules (PMN) and hydrothermal sulphides in the allotted area of the India Ocean.
OSMART being a multidisciplinary continuing scheme, the ongoing extensive research and technology development activities would augment capacity building of the nation in the oceanographic field at the international level.
In the next five years (2021-26) this scheme would provide further comprehensive coverage through strengthening the ongoing activities towards delivering cutting edge technology applicable for marine domain, forecast and warning services to various coastal stake holders, understanding biodiversity towards conservation strategy for marine living organisms and understanding coastal processes.
Image courtesy: Uttarkhand news network