Govt okays proposal to roll out project to explore deep ocean for resources

The cost of the mission has been estimated at Rs 4,077 crore over a five-year period and will be implemented in phases

Topics

Ocean | Cabinet | India economy

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to roll out a “deep ocean mission” to search for resources and develop deep-sea technologies. The Cabinet also approved the introduction of the Inland Vessel Bill in Parliament to ensure safe transportation and trade through inland waters.

On the deep sea mission, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said: “The decision was taken by the Union Cabinet at its meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This will support the blue economy and take India into a new era.”

The cost of the mission has been estimated at Rs 4,077 crore over a five-year period and will be implemented in phases. The estimated cost for the first phase, which is expected to be completed in three years (2021-2024), is estimated at Rs 2,823 crore, an official statement said. The proposal for the mission came from the Ministry of Earth Sciences, which is the nodal authority for implementing it. Java­dekar said, under the mission, a mineral study will be conducted at a depth of 6,000 metres. The mission will also study the changes, if any, noticed due to climate change.

The Mission consists of six major components including the development of technologies for deep-sea mining and manned submersible; development of ocean climate change advisory services, technological innovations for exploration and conservation of deep-sea biodiversity, deep ocean survey and exploration; off-shore energy and fresh water from the ocean and advanced marine station for ocean biology.

There will also be an offshore thermal energy centre, which will help new emerging sectors.

India will be the sixth country – after the US, Russia, France, Japan and China – to have this kind of technology, the minister said.

“There will be good opportunities for our MSMEs and research. This will also help in our endeavour and vision towards an Atmanirbhar Bharat,” he said.

Inland vessels

Addressing a press conference, Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Mansukh Mandaviya said the Bill aims to promote economical and safe transportation as well as trade through inland waterways and bring uniformity in the application of the law.

It also seeks to provide for the safety of navigation, protection of life and cargo, and prevention of pollution that may be caused by the use or navigation of inland vessels.

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