O-SMART Scheme

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    In News 

    • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister gave its approval for the continuation of the umbrella scheme O-SMART for implementation during the period from 2021-26 at an overall cost of Rs. 2177 crore.

    Rationale behind the move

    • The present decade has been declared as the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development by the United Nations (UN) and continuation of the scheme would strengthen our stand in the global oceanographic research and technology development
      • This continuation of the scheme would contribute significantly towards national policy on the blue economy for effective and efficient use of the vast ocean resources in a Sustainable way. 

    What is O-SMART Scheme?

    • It is a scheme of the Ministry of Earth Sciences launched on August 29, 2018.
    • Objectives & Significance:
      • It aims to promote ocean research and setting early warning weather systems. It also aims to address ocean development activities like technology, services, science, resources, and observations.
      • To generate and regularly update information on Marine Living Resources and their relationship with the physical environment in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
      • To develop high resolution models for ocean forecast and reanalysis systems.
      • To carry out exploration of Polymetallic Nodules (MPN) from a water depth of 5500 m in a site of 75000 sq.km allotted to India by the United Nations

    Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)

    • It is prescribed by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
    • Every coastal country’s EEZ extends to 200 nautical miles (370 km) from its shores and the country has exclusive rights to all resources in the water, including oil, natural gas and fish. Any military activity in the EEZ requires Country’s permission
    • It is also referred to as a maritime continental margin and, in colloquial usage, may include the continental shelf.
    • The term does not include either the territorial sea or the continental shelf beyond the 200 nautical mile limit.
       

    Achievements 

    • The most significant is India’s recognition as Pioneer Investor with International Seabed Authority (ISA) for conducting extensive research on deep-sea mining of Poly Metallic Nodules (PMN) and hydrothermal sulphides in the allotted area of the Indian Ocean. 
    • The technology development for desalination using low-temperature thermal desalination installation of such a facility in Lakshadweep islands is also a significant achievement. 
    • Moreover, India’s ocean-related activities are now extended from the Arctic to the Antarctic region covering large ocean space which has been monitored through in-situ and satellite-based observation. 
    • Efforts towards achieving United Nations sustainable Development Goal-14 to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources are being covered through the coastal research and marine biodiversity activities.
    •  Significant contribution to the national GDP is being made and to be continued through the ocean advisory services and technologies developed benefiting communities and several sectors working in the marine environment, particularly in the coastal states of India.

    Source: PIB