In Today’s News:
- Deep Ocean Mission approved by the Cabinet
- Cold desert Ladakh
1. Deep Ocean Mission approved by the Cabinet
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) on “Deep Ocean Mission
Prelims GS – Governance
Deep Ocean Mission:
- Deep Ocean Mission is expected to explore the deep ocean for resources and develop deep-sea technologies for sustainable use of ocean resources.
- Deep Ocean Mission is a mission mode project to support the Blue Economy Initiatives of the Government of India.
- Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) will be the nodal Ministry implementing this multi-institutional ambitious mission.
- The Deep Ocean Mission consists of the following six major components:
- Development of Technologies for Deep Sea Mining, and Manned Submersible
- Development of Ocean Climate Change Advisory Services
- Technological innovations for exploration and conservation of deep-sea biodiversity
- Deep Ocean Survey and Exploration
- Energy and freshwater from the Ocean
- Advanced Marine Station for Ocean Biology
Mains GS3 – Economic Development
Components of Deep Ocean Mission:
Development of Technologies for Deep Sea Mining and Manned submersible:
- A manned submersible will be developed to carry three people to a depth of 6000 meters in the ocean with a suite of scientific sensors and tools.
- Only a very few countries have acquired this capability.
- An Integrated Mining System will be also developed for mining Polymetallic Nodules from 6000 m depth in the central Indian Ocean.
- The exploration studies of minerals will pave way for the commercial exploitation in the near future, as and when commercial exploitation code is evolved by the International Seabed Authority, a UN organization.
- This component will help the Blue Economy priority area of exploring and harnessing deep-sea minerals and energy.
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.
- This component will support the Blue Economy priority area of coastal tourism.
Technological innovations for exploration and conservation of deep-sea biodiversity:
- Bio-prospecting of deep-sea flora and fauna including microbes and studies on sustainable utilization of deep-sea bio-resources will be the main focus.
- This component will support the Blue Economy priority area of Marine Fisheries and allied services.
Deep Ocean Survey and Exploration:
- The primary objective of this component is to explore and identify potential sites of multi-metal Hydrothermal Sulphides mineralization along the Indian Ocean mid-oceanic ridges.
- This component will additionally support the Blue Economy priority area of deep-sea exploration of ocean resources.
Energy and freshwater from the Ocean:
- Studies and detailed engineering design for offshore Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) powered desalination plant is envisaged in this proof of concept proposal.
- This component will support the Blue Economy priority area of offshore energy development.
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.
- This component will support the Blue Economy priority area of Marine Biology, Blue trade, and Blue manufacturing.
Click here to view the Courtesy: PIB press release.
Hon’ble Raksha Mantri reiterated India’s support to freedom of navigation, over-flight, and unimpeded commerce for all in international waters in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) at the 8th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus.
Click here to view the PIB release.
Prelims GS – International Relations
- United Nations Convention on Law of Sea is known as UNCLOS.
- It was adopted in 1982.
- It is an international treaty.
- UNCLOS Convention has created three institutions for dealing with matters regarding the sea.
- International Tribunal for Law of Sea
- International SeaBed Authority
- Commission on the Limits of Continental Shelf
- It lays down a comprehensive regime of law and order in the world’s oceans and seas establishing rules governing all uses of the oceans and their resources.
- The Convention is the legal framework for marine and maritime activities.
- India is a party to the UNCLOS convention. (Note: Important Prelims Question)
- This means that India should abide by the ruling of the Tribunal which is formed under UNCLOS.
Click here to view the official website of UNCLOS.
3. Cold Desert Ladakh
Scientists have shown that the cold desert of Ladakh Himalaya once experienced large floods that rose much above the present-day river level.
Click here to view the PIB release.
Prelims GS – Geography
- The Cold Desert Cultural Landscape of India is situated in the Himalayas and stretches from Ladakh (in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, or J&K) in the north to Kinnaur (in the state of Himachal Pradesh, or H.P.) in the south.
- The region has a Cold Desert biome with harsh climatic conditions.
- Two main factors for this Cold desert biome with harsh climatic conditions are because of its:
- location on the leeward side of the Himalayas, which makes it a rain-shadow zone inaccessible to the annual southeastern monsoon winds that sweep the rest of the country, thus creating desert conditions with low levels of precipitation.
- very high elevation (ranging from 3000 – 5000m ASL) that adds to the coldness in its environment.
- The soil is not very fertile and the climatic conditions allow very short growing seasons making it a bare landscape.
- Water resources are minimal and comprise glacier-fed streams.
- The Cold Desert has been declared as the 16th Biosphere Reserve of India in 2009 that includes Pin Valley National Park and surroundings, Chandratal and Sarchu, and the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary in H.P.
- The Changtang Cold Desert Wildlife Sanctuary in district Leh, J&K is another protected habitat for flora and fauna in the region.
- Birds sighted: Robins, redstarts, Tibetan snowcock, raven, and hoopoe
- Animals: wild goats, wild sheep, yak, and special kinds of dogs
- The Karakoram Range in the north and the Zanskar mountains in the south enclose it.
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