The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Wednesday gave its approval for continuation of the umbrella scheme ‘Ocean Services, Modelling, Application, Resources and Technology (O-SMART)’ of the Ministry of Earth Sciences for implementation during the period from 2021-26 at an overall cost of Rs 2,177 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. the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai, the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad, the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa, the Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology (CMLRE), Kochi, and National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR), Chennai as well as involving other national institutes.
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. A fleet of oceanographic and coastal research vessels of the Ministry provide required research support for the scheme, a Cabinet communique said.
The research and technology development pertaining to oceans in India was initiated by the Department of Ocean Development, which was set up in 1981 which later merged to the Ministry of Earth Sciences and continuing since then.
The Ministry has achieved a significant position in oceanographic research through technology developments, forecast services, field installations, explorations, survey, technology demonstrations towards national benefits. 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 oceans, development of technologies and exploratory surveys for sustainable harnessing of oceanic resources (both living and non-living) and promotion of front-ranking research in ocean sciences.