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Deep Ocean Mission

  • IASbaba
  • June 18, 2021
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

Deep Ocean Mission

Context: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the Deep Ocean Mission of the Ministry of Earth Sciences with a view to explore the deep ocean for resources and develop deep-sea technologies for sustainable use of ocean resources.

To be implemented at an estimated cost of Rs 4,077 crore for a period of five years, the mission supports the blue economy initiatives of the Government of India. 

  • Blue Economy is the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health.

Importance of Oceans for India

  • For India, with 7,517 km long coastline, nice coastal states with 30 percent of the country’s population and three sides surrounded by the oceans, the ocean is a major economic factor supporting fisheries and aquaculture, tourism, livelihoods and blue trade. 
  • The oceans are also storehouse of food, energy, minerals, medicines.
  • They are also modulator of weather and climate system of earth. Thus, oceanic health is important for Indian nonsoons.
  • Oceans also provide ecosystem services like carbon sequestration, coastal protection, waste disposal and the existence of biodiversity.

The Deep Ocean Mission will consist of six major components:

  1. Development of Technologies for Deep Sea Mining, and Manned Submersible
  • A manned submersible will be developed to carry three people to a depth of 6,000 metres in the ocean with a suite of scientific sensors and tools. 
  • An Integrated Mining System will also be developed for mining Polymetallic Nodules from a depth of 6,000 metres in the central Indian Ocean. 
  1. Development of Ocean Climate Change Advisory Services
  • A suite of observations and models will be developed to understand and provide future projections of important climate variables on seasonal to decadal time scales under this proof of concept component. 
  1. Technological innovations for exploration and conservation of deep-sea biodiversity:
  • The bio-prospecting of deep-sea flora and fauna including microbes and studies on sustainable utilisation of deep-sea bio-resources will be the main focus of the mission. 
  1. Deep Ocean Survey and Exploration:
  • The primary objective of this component is to explore and identify potential sites of multi-metal Hydrothermal Sulphides mineralisation along the Indian Ocean mid-oceanic ridges. 
  1. Energy and freshwater from the ocean:
  • Studies and detailed engineering design for offshore Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) powered desalination plant is envisaged in the concept proposal.
  1. Advanced Marine Station for Ocean Biology:
  • This component is aimed at the development of human capacity and enterprise in ocean biology and engineering. 
  • This component will translate research into the industrial application and product development through on-site business incubator facilities. 

Conclusion

One of the biggest bottleneck for this initiative is that the technologies required for deep-sea mining have strategic implications and are not commercially available. Thus, there is scope for indigenisation.

Connecting the dots:

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