Cabinet approves continuation of O-SMART scheme – Know significance, milestones, objectives

The O-SMART scheme has been approved for continuation from 2021-26. Know significance, past milestones, objectives.

Created On: Nov 25, 2021 12:32 IST
Cabinet approves continuation of O-SMART scheme; Image: ANI
Cabinet approves continuation of O-SMART scheme; Image: ANI

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 24, 2021, approved for continuing the umbrella scheme ‘Ocean Services, Modelling, Application, Resources and Technology (O-SMART)’ of the Ministry of Earth Sciences during 2021-26 at a cost of Rs 2,177 crores. The O-SMART scheme comprises seven sub-schemes which are being implemented by autonomous institutes of the Earth Sciences Ministry. A fleet of oceanographic and coast research vessels have been provided by the Earth Sciences Ministry to aid research under the O-SMART scheme.

Approval for continuing O-SMART scheme: Significance

The continuation of the Ocean Services, Modelling, Application, Resources and Technology (O-SMART) scheme during 2021-26 will augment the capacity building of India in the oceanographic field at the international level with the ongoing extensive research and technology development activities. The continuation of the O-SMART scheme will aid in strengthening India’s contribution towards a national policy on Blue Economy for efficient and effective use of the ocean resources in a sustainable way.

As a multidisciplinary continuing scheme, the O-SMART scheme will offer further comprehensive coverage while strengthening ongoing activities to deliver cutting-edge technology for the marine sector, forecast and warning services, understanding marine biodiversity, coastal processes, and conservation strategies for marine living organisms.

The United Nations (UN) has declared the current decade as the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The coastal research and marine biodiversity activities under the O-SMART scheme will help in achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources.

Through the ocean advisory services and technologies developed under the O-SMART scheme, several communities and sectors in the marine environment particularly the coastal states in India which in turn registers a significant contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of India.

What is O-SMART scheme?

The Ocean Services, Modelling, Application, Resources and Technology (O-SMART) is a government scheme that aims at promoting ocean research and setting up early warning weather systems. The scheme also aims at addressing ocean development activities such as technology, services, resources, science, and observations as well as offering required technological assistance for implementing aspects of Blue Economy.

Who launched O-SMART scheme?

The O-SMART scheme was approved by the Cabinet Committee chaired by PM Narendra Modi on August 29, 2018. The Ministry of Earth Sciences works on the implementation of the scheme. O-SMART

Objectives

The O-SMART scheme comprising oceanographic activities aims at providing forecasts and services based on the continuous observation of oceans, development of technologies, exploratory surveys for the sustainable harnessing of our oceanic resources (both non-living and living), and promotion of front-ranking research in ocean sciences.

O-SMART: Seven sub-schemes

(i) Ocean Technology

(ii) Ocean Modelling and Advisory Services (OSMAS)

(iii) Ocean Observation Network (OON)

(iv) Ocean Non-Living Resources

(v) Marine Living Resources and Ecology (MLRE)

(vi) Coastal Research and Operation

(vii) Maintenance of Research Vessels

O-SMART scheme: Milestones

The O-SMART scheme has helped India get recognized as Pioneer Investor with International Seabed Authority (ISA) for conducting extensive research on deep-sea mining of Poly Metallic Nodules (PMN) and hydrothermal sulfides in the allotted area of the Indian Ocean.

The technology development for desalination using low-temperature thermal desalination installation of such facility in Lakshadweep.

Extension of India’s ocean-related activities from the Arctic to Antarctic region covering large ocean space that has been monitored through satellite-based and in-situ observation.

The scheme has enabled India to take a leadership role in implementing the Indian Ocean component of the Global Ocean Observing System in UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). The Indian Ocean Observing System under the Global Ocean Observing System offers ocean forecast services for potential natural coastal and fishing ground hazards warnings about storms, cyclones, Tsunamis at national levels as well as neighboring countries.

A state-of-the-art Early Warning System for oceanic disasters such as storms, tsunamis, has also been set up at INCOIS, Hyderabad. The system is recognized by UNESCO.

The scheme aids in an extensive survey of the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the continental shelf of the Indian Ocean to identify ocean resources, navigation, ocean-related services, etc. The scheme also aids in assessing living resources in the EEZ and deep ocean, mapping marine ecosystems for conservation and protection of marine biodiversity.

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