Newdelhi:1/2/23:Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today said, the world today recognises India’s Blue Economy resources and the International Seabed Authority with headquarters in Jamaica has officially designated India as a “Pioneer Investor”.
The Minister said this when the Secretary General of the International Seabed Authority, Michael W. Lodge, currently on India visit, called on him at Prithvi Bhawan. Michael Lodge was accompanied by a high level delegation which held a detailed meeting with the Indian team led by Union Secretary Earth Sciences, Dr M. Ravichandran.
Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership for the first time, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the Blue Economy has been given high priority and the same is now being recognised globally. PM Modi referred to India’s Deep Sea Mission in his Independence Day address for two consecutive years in 2021 and 2022, he said.
International Seabed Authority (ISA) and Ministry of Earth Sciences also exchanged PMN (Polymetallic Nodules) exploration extension contract in presence of Dr. Jitendra Singh. This contract was initially signed on 25th March 2002 for a period of 15 years, which later was extended by the authority twice for 5 years period, during 2017 and 2022.
Dr. Jitendra Singh extended a warm welcome to the delegation and said that India, with its 7500-kilometer-long coastal belt, is both a stakeholder as well as a contributor in exploring and utilizing sea resources. Dr. Singh expressed happiness over India being designated in the category of ‘Pioneer investor’ having special interests, by the ISA.
Dr. Jitendra Singh also highlighted the fact that India’s Deep-Sea Mission is one of the prime projects which has been undertaken by the Government of India under Prime Minister Modi. He said that an amount of Rs 600 crore has been allocated for the Mission, which will bring to the fore India’s oceanic capabilities.
The Union Minister said that this sector is going to be a major contributor in the Indian economy in the times to come. The Minister also mentioned ambitious projects of Samudrayaan, which will put India amongst the elite list of countries who have achieved such a feat of exploring oceans so deep.
Dr. Jitendra Singh highlighted India’s vast maritime interests and noted that the Blue Economy in India has a vital relationship with the nation’s economic growth. He stated that India is a strong proponent of the “Blue Growth” as a part of the long-term strategy to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors. He also said that India is in the process of bringing out its own comprehensive Blue Economy policy framework, which aims at covering the coastal economy, tourism, marine fishery, technology, skill development, shipping, deep-sea mining, and capacity building in a holistic manner.
The Minister said that the objective of the Blue Economy has been to promote smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth and opportunities within the Indian Ocean region’s maritime economic activities and initiate appropriate programmes for the sustainable harnessing of ocean resources, research, and development.
Ministry of Earth Sciences has been conducting PMN exploration program covering components like Survey & Exploration, Environmental Impact Assessment, Technology Development (Mining), and Technology Development (Extractive Metallurgy) through its nodal institute National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) and other associated national institutes like National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (IMMT). The ultimate objective of the program is to complete preparatory work to demonstrate the pilot mining at Test Mining Site (TMS). The various activities under this programme are under implementation and significant progress has been made towards the preparatory work, which has been communicated to the ISA time to time through submission of annual reports.
The Secretary General, ISA, Mr. Lodge said that India is in a very good position to move ahead in the field of energy transition and that ISA is looking forward to working with M/o Earth Sciences on all possible fronts to further the mutual cooperation.