Cabinet approves Rs 1600 crore for Ocean programme

India undertook multiple ocean projects to harness oceanic resources since 1982. Representative image.

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a Rs 1,600-crore programme to harness ocean resources and keep an eye on coastal pollution.

Under the Rs 1,623 crore Ocean Services, Technology, Observations, Resources Modelling and Science (O-SMART) programmme the Ministry of Earth Sciences would undertake 16 projects in the next two years to mine ocean resources in a sustainable manner, improving the services to fishermen and purchase of two coastal research vessels.

The programme would also include setting up an ocean thermal energy conversion plant at Kavaratti and six desalination plant units at Lakshadweep islands.

The approval was accorded by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Other targets are strengthening of ocean observations and modelling, boosting the services rendered to fishermen; establishment of marine coastal observatories for monitoring marine pollution in 2018, a continuation of ocean Survey and exploration of minerals and living resources and technology development for the more ambitious deep-sea mining plan.

“With land resources turning to be inadequate to meet future demands, India has embarked on blue economy for effective and efficient use of the vast ocean resources in a sustainable way, which would require collecting a lot more information on ocean science, development of technology and providing services,” says a government press note.

Since it came out with an ocean policy statement in 1982, India undertook multiple ocean projects to harness oceanic resources.

International Sea Bed Authority accorded an area of 75,000 sq km in the central Indian Ocean to India for exploration of polymetallic nodules rich in several valuable metals.

In addition, another 10,000 sq km area in the Indian Ocean was allotted to India for exploration of hydrothermal sulphides— another potential source for minerals.

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Cabinet approves Rs 1600 crore for Ocean programme

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