- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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: