By A R DAS
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs today gave approval for the 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 2 thousand 177 crore rupees.
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 and attached institutes of the Ministry like National Institute of Ocean Technology NIOT Chennai, Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services INCOIS Hyderabad, National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research NCPOR Goa, Center for Marine Living Resources and Ecology CMLRE Kochi and National Centre for Coastal Research NCCR Chennai as well as involving other national institutes. A fleet of oceanographic and coastal research vessels of the Ministry provide required research support for scheme.
The research and technology development pertaining to oceans in India was initiated by Department of Ocean Development, which was set up in 1981 which later merged to Ministry of Earth Sciences and continuing since then. 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 the oceans, development of technologies and exploratory surveys for sustainable harnessing of the both living and non-living oceanic resources and promotion of front-ranking research in ocean sciences.
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. The present decade has been declared as the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development by the United Nations and continuation of the scheme would strengthen India’s stand in the global oceanographic research and technology development.
This continuation of the scheme would contribute significantly towards national policy on blue economy for effective and efficient use of the vast ocean resources in a Sustainable way. 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.