29 July 2016

Sagarmala Project

Sagarmala Project
Sagarmala is a long term programme, which was approved by Union Cabinet on 25th March, 2015.

The programme involves drawing up a National Perspective Plan(NPP) for Port Modernization & New Port Development, Port Connectivity Enhancement, Port-Led Industrial Development and Coastal Community Development as a first step for an integrated approach to port led development. This planning process which involved extensive interaction and consultation with concerned states/UT governments, stakeholder Ministries and related PSUs, has been completed and the NPP is developed, has been approved by the National Sagarmala Apex Committee on 9th April,2016.

To exploit the potential of India’s approximately 7,500 km long coastline and 14,500km of potentially navigable waterways the Sagarmala Programme aims to promote port-led development in the country. The concept of the Sagarmala Programme approved by the Cabinet on 25th March, 2015. The objectives of the Sagarmala Programme are Port modernization & new port development, enhancing port connectivity to hinterland, port led Industrialization and coastal community development.

The status of major works under Sagarmala programme is as follows:

i. Sagarmala Cell was set up on 1st May, 2015. ii. The setting up of Sagarmala Development Company has been approved by the Cabinet.

iii. Twelve Early Bird Projects have been taken up for implementation in FY 2015-16 which relate to hinterland connectivity, port operations, skill building and development of breakwaters.

iv. The perspective plans of 14 Coastal Economic Zones (CEZs), identified as part of NPP, have been prepared which will lead to formation of detailed master plans.

As part of the NPP, total 173 projects have been initially identified across the programme objectives which will result in significant investment in maritime infrastructure, create employment, reduce logistics cost and boost merchandize exports over the next decade.

The implementation of these projects is to be done by the relevant ports, Central Government Ministries, State Governments and State Maritime Boards preferably through private sector or PPP route. Sagarmala Development Company will provide equity support for the project SPVs (State/Port/Central Ministry Level SPVs) and take up residual projects that cannot be funded by any other means/mode.

A projection has been made that the identified industrial cluster projects once implemented will enable creation of approximately 1 crore new jobs, including 40 lakh direct jobs and 60 lakhs indirect jobs in the next 10 years. 

National Smart Grid Mission to Upgrade India’s Power Grid

National Smart Grid Mission to Upgrade India’s Power Grid

New Program Will Train Utility Personnel on Innovative Smart Grid Components and Applications
India’s National Smart Grid Mission (NSGM) with the help of USAID launched its first in a series of training programs aimed at building the capacity and skills of utility personnel to develop India’s Smart Grid infrastructure. This training will help the Government of India achieve its target of having 10 percent of personnel from 14 of India’s state utilities trained in Smart Grid functions.

Building a Smart Grid is a key priority for the Government of India as it will help curb power transmission and distribution losses, ensuring there is 24x7 access to power for all. A trained and skilled workforce is critical to achieving this vision.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Vishal Kapoor, Director - Distribution, Ministry of Power said,“India expects to provide 24x7 quality power to all its people. The power generated will comprise a large share of renewable energy. Managing renewable and conventional energy calls for a grid that is smart and capable of providing electricity to the remote corners of the country,”

Shri Prabhu N. Singh, Director, NSGM, emphasized the importance of having a trained workforce of utility professionals who can understand and own the Smart Grid system. This trained workforce will help accelerate the development of Smart Grids across India.“The Government of India, through the National Smart Grid Mission, is committed to assisting utilities in skill enhancement on Smart Grid aspects. We hope to partner with a number of national and state institutions to take up Smart Grid training in the country,” said Singh.

“Training and capacity building have been identified as one of the key strategic areas under the NSGM. We are happy to partner with the Ministry of Power and the NSGM to facilitate knowledge sharing on Smart Grid technologies and related-operational issues,” said USAID/India Mission Director, Ambassador Jonathan Addleton.

The three-day training program will use a basic Smart Grid course – designed under USAID’s “Partnership to Advance Clean Energy” Program – to build the capacity of utilities on various Smart Grid components and applications. The participants will also visit a Smart Grid Lab at the Centre for Power Efficiency in Distribution in New Delhi, to gain a practical understanding of select Smart Grid functionalities.

The Government of India has taken several proactive steps towards grid modernization, including the establishment of a Smart Grid Mission to plan and monitor the implementation of policies and programs related to Smart Grid activities in India. 

ambiguous territorial claims over South China Sea

China has been trying to assert its ambiguous territorial claims over South China Sea since years by building up its navy and constructing artificial islands.
People’s Republic of China claims Nine-dash line area, which covers most of the South China sea and overlaps exclusive economic zone claims of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
China has not specified the exact meaning of the nine-dash line. It is not clear, for example, whether the country claims everything within the line as its sovereign possession or merely the islands and their surrounding waters
China claims it has historical rights in the South China Sea.
China also says the country also has ancestral fishing rights.
Claims of other countries
Vietnam hotly disputes China’s historical account, saying China had never claimed sovereignty over the islands before the 1940s.
Vietnam says it has actively ruled over both the Paracels and the Spratlys since the 17th Century.
Philippines invokes its geographical proximity to the Spratly Islands as the main basis of its claim for part of the grouping.
In May 2014, China established an oil rig near the Paracel Islands, leading to multiple incidents between Vietnamese and Chinese ships.
The oil rig dispute has coincided with further tensions between China and the Philippines over the Spratly Islands.
Importance of South China Sea
About a third of world trade passes through its sea lanes, including most of China’s oil imports.
It contains large reserves of oil and gas.
South China Sea also contains rich fishing grounds.
Control of the South China Sea would allow China to dominate a major trade route.
south china sea
Disputes in South china sea
UNCLOS has been signed and ratified by nearly all the coastal countries in the South China Sea.
But territorial disputes still persist, primarily over the Spratly and Paracel Islands as well as the Scarborough Shoal.
Spratlys has been occupied by saveral claimants, which consist of Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, China and Malaysia.
The Paracel Islands are the subject of overlapping claims from China, Vietnam and Taiwan.
In 1974 South Vietnamese troops were driven from the Paracels by Chinese forces.
A further clash between Vietnamese and Chinese forces occurred in 1988.
Another major dispute is over the Scarborough Shoal, which is claimed by China, the Philippines and Taiwan.
Ruling of Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA):-
This case was brought by the Philippines in 2013, after China grabbed control of a reef, called Scarborough Shoal, about 220 miles (350km) north-west of Manila.
PCA has declared China’s “historic claims” in the South China Sea invalid.
It is a place of multiple overlapping maritime claims and a growing military presence.
China’s island building activities and conduct in the Mischief Reef — not the Second Thomas Shoal — constitute a violation of its obligations under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
China has a positive obligation not to impede Filipino fishing vessels from exercising their EEZ rights, and to prevent Chinese fishermen from exploiting the same resources.
Court ruled that only claims consistent with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) were valid.
Under UNCLOS, which came into force in 1982 and which China ratified in 1996, maritime rights derive from land, not history and there was “no legal basis” for China to claim historic rights within it.
Countries may claim an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) up to 200 nautical miles (370km) off their coasts, or around islands. Based on this, the tribunal ruled that the nine-dash line had no standing.
Court ruled that claims of China had been building on rocks that were visible only at low tide, and hence not eligible to claim territorial waters and China had violated the sovereign rights of the Philippines, which has an EEZ covering them.
China’s stand and possible steps post-ruling?
China has refused to take part in the proceedings of court and court’s proceedings and has denied accepting, recognising or executing the verdict.
Although as a member of UNCLOS it is supposed to obey the court, but there is no enforcement mechanism.
China has repeatedly attacked the credibility of the PCA and the arbitration process, and will likely continue to do so.
China has attempted to create a coalition of states that rejects the arbitration proceedings, and may continue this effort.
China could continue its land reclamation and construction efforts in the Spratly Islands, which have added over 3,200 acres of land to the seven features Beijing occupies.
China has already threatened to establish an Aircraft Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
Could China be forced to accept?
In global governance, the supreme executive body is the U.N. Security Council, and China holds veto power as a permanent member.
Even the Security Council must rely on member states to enforce its decisions, including binding measures under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter. Similarly, the PCA ruling will have to be enforced by members of the international community.
Thus enforcement powers is lacking with PCA’s decision, biggest benefit it provides is a fresh opportunity for diplomacy in the South China Sea and ensures that any action in the region will be subject to the strict scrutiny of a global audience.
Why does it matter to India?
After PCA ruling against Chinese claims over South China Sea, Indian naval warships can now move through the region under UNCLOS without informing the Chinese.
The Chinese, by claiming 80 per cent of South China Sea, have been asking India to notify Beijing of movement of Indian warships through those shipping lanes.
India, like China, is a signatory to the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas) that mandates a certain maritime behaviour and norms.
In 2014, India had accepted an unfavourable ruling versus Bangladesh, in the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
Now India is closely looking that what would be the course of action of China in the similar situation, non-compliance may bring the stature of PCA down in the eyes of other countries, including India.

Development of Data Satellite by NASA and ISRO

Development of Data Satellite by NASA and ISRO
ISRO and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)/NASA are jointly working on the development of Dual Frequency (L&S band) Synthetic Aperture Radar Imaging Satellite named as NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR).
In this joint mission, JPL/ NASA will be responsible for design & development of L-band SAR, 12m unfurlable antenna & its deployment elements, GPS system and data recorder. ISRO will be responsible for design & development of S-band SAR, Spacecraft Bus, data transmission system, Spacecraft integration & testing, launch using GSLV and on-orbit operations. The L & S band microwave data obtained from this satellite will be useful for variety of applications, which include natural resources mapping & monitoring; estimating agricultural biomass over full duration of crop cycle; assessing soil moisture; monitoring of floods and oil slicks; coastal erosion, coastline changes and variation of winds in coastal waters; assessment of mangroves; surface deformation studies etc.
ISRO and JPL/ NASA are working towards realisation of this mission by 2021. Both agencies have obtained necessary approvals from respective governments. The joint science observation plan has been documented with the participation of Indian and American scientists. The core science teams of India and USA meet every six months to discuss various observation requirements and strategies of science observation. The technical teams of both the agencies are working towards building the necessary systems.

1991 is history: Where do we go now?

1991 is history: Where do we go now?
A new policy framework is needed to abolish mass poverty in coming decades
Twenty-five years have passed since one of the most momentous days in Indian economic history. Around noon on 24 July 1991, the government led by P.V. Narasimha Rao tabled a new industrial policy that essentially junked the perverse licence raj. The prime minister was himself in charge of the industries portfolio. A few hours later, his finance minister Manmohan Singh gave a budget speech that was a clarion call for overdue change. The transformational budget that Manmohan Singh presented in February 1992 was anticipated by what he said in July 1991.
Few realize that the radical 1991 economic reforms were preceded by around 15 years of internal debate on how India should change its policy approach. The Janata Party government perhaps made the first move by appointing a committee headed by veteran journalist Vadilal Dagli to examine the issue of subsidies that had already begun to weigh down on the budget. Then there was the committee headed by bureaucrat P.C. Alexander on reforming trade policy that was one reason why Indian industry was inefficient. The 1980s saw even more of such policy rethinking, from monetary policy to industrial competitiveness to trade reforms.
What now? The Narendra Modi government believes it is playing the long game. In that case, it should not only focus on executive action or pushing through unfinished reforms such as the goods and services tax, but also begin work on a new policy framework that will help India abolish mass poverty in the coming decades. Mint has here sketched out a few issues that need structured thinking.
1. Ending the inspector raj: The licence raj is thankfully now history. Businessmen do not have to trudge to New Delhi to get permissions to invest in new capacity. But they are still hounded by representatives of the inspector raj—from factory inspectors to tax officials. Much of this can come under the umbrella of increasing the ease of doing business.
2. Improving human capital: The most successful examples of countries escaping poverty in a few decades come from East Asia. Their investments in human capital cannot be ignored. India still has very high level of malnutrition. The public health system is broken. The same is the case of the education system. The government need not provide these services directly, but it needs to fund them at the very least. The state of the education system is a particularly serious worry.
3. Reforming factor markets: The 25 years since 1991 have seen a transformation of product markets. There has been far less success when it comes to the markets for factors of production such as land, labour and capital. Reforming the land and labour markets are politically tricky, but some state governments are taking the lead with innovative solutions.
4. Inclusion through jobs: Manmohan Singh as finance minister used to talk about the importance of the East Asian experience, where millions could escape poverty by shifting from the farm to the factory. As prime minister, the same Manmohan Singh led a government that banked on subsidies and entitlements as the primary tools for inclusion. The focus has to shift back to job creation in the modern sectors—though in a world where new technology is not labour intensive.
5. Rebuilding state capacity: There is no doubt that the Indian government machinery is creaky. It is low on capability, other than at the very top. Rebuilding state capacity is even more important at a time when power is flowing to the states, and later perhaps directly to cities and villages. India needs far better administrative, policy and regulatory abilities than it does right now.
This is not an exhaustive list but only an attempt by this newspaper to shift the debate from 1991 nostalgia to the more concrete task of charting out the road ahead. That requires structured thinking, political commitment and administrative capability. Just look at China, and the way it has changed its policy focus as the economy has grown. India needs to do the same.

The state of the Indian federation

The state of the Indian federation
The Inter-State Council should become the forum for political and legislative give and take between the centre and states
The Indian nation is a federation with a unitary bias.
At first glance, that sounds like a trick statement destined to get you to fail your high school civics examination. But that is as accurate a statement as one can make about the nature of the relationship between the centre and the states in the Indian Constitution.
Part XI of the Constitution (Articles 245 through 263) deals with centre-state relations. It covers legislative and administrative relations between states. The financial relationship between the centre and states is covered in the next chapter of the Indian Constitution, including Article 280 that deals with the mandate for setting up a periodic Finance Commission. The peculiar phrase “unitary bias” arises because residuary powers—the power to legislate on matters not enumerated in the central, state or concurrent list of subjects—is given to the centre under Article 248. This is unlike the constitutions in many other federations such as the United States, Germany and Australia where such power is conferred on the states.
The Constituent Assembly debates are a rich source of discourse on the intertwined threads of discussion on the subject that took place in newly independent India. A paranoia about disunity and the need for uniform development dominated other threads like prevailing constitutional design, minority protection and the interest of princely states. Arguments by Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar and Babasaheb Ambedkar combined with the horrific event of partition sealed the case for residuary power to be allocated to the centre. Ambedkar summed it up this way, “the use of the term ‘Union’ is deliberate. I can tell you why the Drafting Committee used it. The Drafting Committee wanted to make it clear that though India was to be a federation, the federation was not the result of an agreement by the states to join a federation and that the federation not being the result of an agreement, no state has the right to secede from it. It also explains the fact that the Union is indestructible but not the States; their identity can be altered or even obliterated.”
Despite this bias, in the early years after independence, the central government took many steps to encourage a federal character to its functioning. A National Development Council was set up in 1952 and a National Integration Council was similarly set up in 1962. Annual conferences were held between the centre and state chief ministers on finance, labour, food and other functional areas.
The first constitutional body—called the Inter-State Council (ISC)—was set up in 1990 following the initial recommendation of the First Administrative Reforms Commission (1969), which was endorsed by the Sarkaria Commission on centre-state relations (1988). During the intervening Indira Gandhi years, there was a gradual centralization that diminished the political, legislative and administrative power of the states.
The ISC’s mandate is to investigate and discuss matters in which states and the Union have a common interest and to make recommendations on such matters particularly with respect to coordination of policy and implementation. The ISC has met 10 times since it was established. Eight of the 10 meetings have been held during non-Congress governments. It met this month, for the 11 time, after a gap of 10 years.
The Narendra Modi government should be applauded for reviving the ISC. The tabled topics for this meeting were direct benefit transfers using Aadhaar, education and internal security. It also discussed the Punchhi Commission report (which interestingly introduced the term cooperative federalism) on centre-state relations. Modi most likely did it for political reasons—key reforms like the goods and services tax (GST) bill require support in the Rajya Sabha. But that is precisely the point. The ISC is the only multilateral centre-state forum that operates directly within the framework of the Constitution (Article 263 (b) and (c)) where topics like the GST and contemporary issues like disaster management, terrorism and internal security can be taken up.
The ISC should be further strengthened to become the critical forum for not merely administrative but also political and legislative give and take between the centre and states. It should function in such a manner that it reflects the equal status of states and the centre. It should meet once a year. Even though the ISC’s mandate is very broad, its aspiration has generally been limited to discussing affirmative action, welfare subjects and administrative efficiency and coordination.
While India needs as many forums as it can get to improve implementation efficiency (given a massive implementation deficit), the ISC should not be one of them. Along with another constitutionally sanctioned entity—the Finance Commission (FC)—the ISC should be the body that puts the “federation” back in the definition of the Indian nation. Together, the FC and the ISC should operationalize again Part XI and XII of the Constitution that ensure appropriate financial devolution and political decentralization. India’s true potential will be achieved only when both the centre and the states are strong.
P.S.: Paraphrased in a federal context, Jawaharlal Nehru said “the only alternative to coexistence is codestruction

T.M. Krishna and Bezwada Wilson win Magsaysay Award

T.M. Krishna and Bezwada Wilson win Magsaysay Award
Mr. Krishna will receive the award for "social inclusiveness in culture," while Wilson was named as an awardee for "asserting the inalienable right to a life of human dignity."
The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation on Wednesday announced its awardees and Carnatic singer T.M. Krishna and Bezwada Wilson, the national convenor of the Safai Karmachari Andolan, both have found a place in the list.
Mr. Krishna will receive the award for “social inclusiveness in culture,” while Bezwada Wilson was named as an awardee for “asserting the inalienable right to a life of human dignity.”
"Fifty years old, Bezwada Wilson has spent 32 years on his crusade, leading not only with a sense of moral outrage but also with remarkable skills in mass organizing, and working within India’s complex legal system. SKA has grown into a network of 7,000 members in 500 districts across the country. Of the estimated 600,000 scavengers in India, SKA has liberated around 300,000. While Bezwada has placed at the core of his work the dalits’ self-emancipation, he stresses that manual scavenging is not a sectarian problem," states Mr. Wilson's citation.
T.M.Krishna's citation says: "He saw that his was a caste-dominated art that fostered an unjust, hierarchic order by effectively excluding the lower classes from sharing in a vital part of India’s cultural legacy. He questioned the politics of art; widened his knowledge about the arts of the dalits (“untouchables”) and non-Brahmin communities; and declared he would no longer sing in ticketed events at a famous, annual music festival in Chennai to protest the lack of inclusiveness. Recognizing that dismantling artistic hierarchies can be a way of changing India’s divisive society, Krishna devoted himself to democratizing the arts as an independent artist, writer, speaker, and activist.”
Mr. Krishna, who is in Russia, has already been informed about the award. He is a student of late Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer. The vocalist, who is also the author of A Southern Music – The Karnatic Story, writes regularly for publications across the country as well. He has been instrumental in organising the Urur Olcott Kuppam festival, where art forms of the fisherfolk in the area are performed as well as classical art forms. The musician has also spoken about the importance of not keeping carnatic music in the confines of the sabhas in the city and has also on many occasions , emphasised on the need to make the performing arts more accessible and without barriers. He had been vocal in raising reservations about the structure of a Carnatic music concert and the ticketing systems in place following which In June 2015, he had announced that he would not be performing in the December music season henceforth.
Among other Indians to win the award in the past are Sanjiv Chaturvedi (2015), Anshu Gupta (2015), Harish Hande (2012), Deepa Joshi (2009), P. Sainath (2007), V. Shantha (2005), Aruna Roy (2000), Kiran Bedi (1994), Ela Bhatt (1977), Baba Amte (1985) and Vinoba Bhave (1958).
The Ramon Magsaysay Award is one of Asia's most prestigious awards celebrating leadership in Asia. The awardees are presented with a certificate and a medallion with an embossed image of Ramon Magsaysay, former President of the Phillippines after whom the award is named. The awards will be presented on August 31 at a formal ceremony in Manila

India has already deployed eight of the long-range P-8I aircraft to track submarine movements

India has already deployed eight of the long-range P-8I aircraft to track submarine movements in the Indian Ocean.
India signed a contract on Wednesday to buy four maritime spy planes from Boeing Co for about $1 billion, defence and industry sources said, aiming to bolster the Navy as it tries to check China's presence in the Indian Ocean.
India has already deployed eight of the long-range P-8I aircraft to track submarine movements in the Indian Ocean and on Wednesday exercised an option for four more, two Defence Ministry officials and an industry source told Reuters.
“It's a follow-on order, it was signed today,” a Defence Ministry official said, speaking on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to make announcements on procurements.
A second Defence official confirmed the value of the contract at about $1 billion and said the aircraft were expected to enter service over the next three years.
Amrita Dhindsa, a spokeswoman for Boeing defence, space, and security in India, said she was not in a position to say anything on the contract and referred all questions to the Defence Ministry.
But she said the P81 was an aircraft used for not only for long-range patrol but was also equipped with Harpoon missiles for anti-submarine warfare.
India has been building up its naval surveillance capabilities since China's navy expanded its reach and sent submarines, including a nuclear-powered boat that docked in Sri Lanka, across the Indian Ocean.
The deal, signed during a visit by the U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Frank Kendall, marks a further tightening of India's ties with the United States, which has emerged as a top arms supplier in recent years for India's largely Soviet-equipped military.
A U.S. embassy spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Boeing last year completed the delivery of the last of the aircraft under the previous order worth $2.1 billion, an industry source said. The Indian navy has deployed some of its P8-I aircraft to the remote Andaman and Nicobar islands near the Malacca Straits and two other routes into the Indian Ocean for military and commercial shipping.

Marine Habitat Research

Marine Habitat Research

            The Government of India set up the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) under the Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change at Chennai during 2011-2012.  The Centre has undertaken various research studies with respect marine environment, ecology and habitat of entire Indian coast including the islands.  The Centre provides knowledge support on policy and scientific matters related to integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and conservation of coastal resources along Indian coast including the islands. NCSCM has mapped the Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESAs) for Tamil Nadu and assisted the Tamil Nadu State Government in preparing the Detailed Project Report for implementing ICZM in the state.  The extent of ESAs as per CRZ 2011 for the state of Tamil Nadu are as follows:

Ecologically Sensitive Area
Area (Km2)
Salt Marsh
Horseshoe crab habitat
Turtle Nesting Sites
Sand Dune
Protected Area (Reserve Forest, National Park, Marine Protected Area, Wildlife Sanctuary & Other Protected Areas)
Archaeological & Heritage Site
(a)    the year-wise funds allocated to support marine habitat research and technology development are as follows:

Allocation ( Rs in crores)

            Although there is no systematic research to study for long-term decadal scale changes due to tides, tsunami, hurricane, floods which are episodic in nature, a few studies were conducted to address the effects of pollution in the coastal areas of India.  These studies indicate that a marginal increase in microbial activity in some coastal areas of the country due to discharge of domestic sewage.  NCSCM has mapped the boundaries of coastal ecologically sensitive areas (ESAs) (CRZ I areas) areas which include mangroves, coral reefs, salt marshes, seagrass beds, turtle nesting grounds, etc, for the entire country as per the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) 2011 notification, issued under the Environment Protection Act, 1986.  In order to monitor the changes in specific coastal ecosystems due to pollution and various stressors, NCSCM has developed (i) Framework for Cumulative Environment Impact Assessment for Gulf of Kachch and (ii) Ecosystem Health Report Cards for Chilika lake, Gulf of Kuchchh. NCSCM has undertaken studies on the impact of tropical cyclone (Lehar) on the seagrass ecosystems in Ross and Smith Islands in Andaman, wherein about 2 ha of seagrass beds have been destroyed. Studies on the coral reefs in Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar show that about 25% of the reefs have bleached during April-May, 2016 due to elevated sea surface temperature and further studies on their recovery are underway.
            The Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change has declared 25 marine protected areas in peninsular India and 106 Marine Protection Areas (MPAs) in the country’s islands under the Wild life Protection Act (1972) to protect the wildlife and their habitat. The coastal ecologically sensitive areas have been mapped and the activities within such areas are regulated as per Coastal Regulation Zone Notification (2011) aimed at protecting the coastal and marine habitats.

National Monsoon Mission

National Monsoon Mission
Under the National Monsoon Mission initiative, the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), NOIDA have embarked upon to build a state-of-the-art coupled ocean atmospheric model for:-
(a) improved prediction of monsoon rainfall on extended range to seasonal time scale (16 days to one season) and (b) improved prediction of temperature, rainfall and extreme weather events on short to medium range time scale (up to 15 days) so that forecast skill gets quantitatively improved further for operational services of India Meteorological Department (IMD).
Details of funds allocated for the Mission during the last three years and the current year is as under:
Financial Year
Rupees in Crore

Targets were to develop a state of the art dynamical prediction system for monsoon rainfall (over Indian region) on different time scales (e.g., short range, medium range, extended range and seasonal time scales) with reasonably good prediction skill.

Year wise achievements are placed in Annexure-1.

Government has received 75 project proposals from National as well as International institutes in this regard. These project proposals have been reviewed on the basis of their scientific merit and suitable projects were recommended for funding through Monsoon Mission. On recommendation of the Scientific Review & Monitoring Committee (SRMC) and other related Committees, the Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) of Monsoon Mission approved 40 projects.

The present long range forecast system based on the statistical models has shown some useful skill in predicting all India seasonal rainfall including the deficient monsoon season rainfall during 2015. However, in order to overcome the limitations of the statistical models used so far, dynamical coupled ocean-atmospheric model framework is put under exhaustive performance evaluation under the National Monsoon Mission.

This was stated by Minister of State for Ministry of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Shri Y.S. Chowdary in a written reply to a Question in Lok Sabha on 27th July,2016.




S. No.
Achievements made under this mission in the country during each of the last four  years (2012-2016)
Experimental real-time seasonal prediction of Indian Summer Monsoon, using ocean –atmosphere coupled dynamical model CFSv2, was initiated at IITM and the predictions were provided to IMD. Short range forecasts were provided by IMD and medium range by NCMRWF (using UM of UKMO), with reasonably good skill.

In addition to above activities, experimental real-timeExtended Range Prediction of active and break spells (ERPAS) of Indian Summer Monsoon Rainfall, up to 4 pentad lead (i.e., 20 days in advance) was initiated at IITM,using an indigenously developed Ensemble Prediction system (EPS), based on the state-of-the-art CFSv2.

“Extended Range Prediction of active and break spells” was certified with ISO 9001:2008 standards in 2015, as it was one of the best prediction systems in the world, for predicting the active/break cycle of Monsoon with moderate prediction skill. IITM initiated to provide Outlook of major climate phenomena (e.g. El-Nino & IOD). Lot of model development works were carried out for improving the physics (land surface, convection, sea-ice, microphysics, etc.) of the model and model resolution was increased.

In addition to above activities, an In – house Ocean Data Assimilation system was set up.  India could predict 2015 drought with good accuracy when all other world leading Climate centres were suggesting that it will be near normal monsoon year. 

 In addition to all above activities, Short-range predictionefforts were recently initiated by IITM. A state of the art Global Ensemble Forecast System (GEFS),  based on 21 ensemble member, have been implemented at ESSO-IITM for generating high resolution short range forecast.
Hot weather season outlook for 2016 summer (April-June) is issued for the country.

Survey of Sand Areas Rich in Thorium

Survey of Sand Areas Rich in Thorium
Atomic Minerals Directorate (AMD), a constituent unit of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), has surveyed and identified resources of the mineral monazite (an ore mineral of thorium rare earth elements and phosphate) in beach and inland sand areas of the country.  The State-wise distribution of availability of monazite sand resources with magnitude of Thorium richness is as follows:

Monazite resources (in million tonnes)


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