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Source: Government of India

The Vice President Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today urged scientists to come up with innovative solutions to conserve water resources and tackle problems like climate change and pollution.

Inaugurating silver jubilee celebrations of National Institute of Ocean Technology, the Vice President said technology was needed for protection of coastal areas from negative impacts of climate change and for development of blue coastal infrastructure for the benefit of society.

While lauding NIOT for developing technologies like desalination plant to convert sea water into portable water, he said there was a need to ensure that such technologies were cost effective.

Talking about the importance of Blue economy in the overall progress of the nation, the Vice President expressed happiness that NIOT was working on six priority pillars of blue economy, including Fisheries and Aquaculture,Renewable Ocean Energy, Seaports and Shipping; Offshore Hydrocarbons, Seabed Minerals, and Marine Biotechnology.

The Vice President pointed out that blue economy includes intangible economic benefits such as carbon sequestration, coastal protection, cultural values and biodiversity.

Observing that Oceans already account for significant trade, commerce and offshore oil and gas, fishing, under sea-cables and tourism, he said the emerging industries such as aquaculture, marine biotechnology, ocean energy and sea-bed mining have the potential to create jobs and spur worldwide economic growth.

Shri Naidu also called for giving a strong thrust to research activities and innovation in the areas of ocean energy, marine biology and bio technology for India to become a leader in those sectors.

The Vice President conveyed his best wishes to the Ministry of Earth Sciences and NIOT for the success of their upcoming project–Samudrayaan, which envisages sending aquanauts to ocean depths with their manned submersible.

Shri Naidu declared that after assuming the office of Vice President of India, he has made it a mission to visit various scientific institutions across the country to understand first-hand the research being conducted by them. In this context, he recalled his visit to INCOIS and the National Tsunami Warning Centre in Hyderabad.

The Vice President said that he was extremely impressed with the work being carried out by scientists in areas of ocean observation and information and advisory services and making the coastal states Tsunami-ready.

The Vice President also launched Coastal Flood Warning System app for Chennai (CFLOWS- CHENNAI) developed by the National Institute of Ocean Technology. He also released a commemorative postal stamp brought out on the occasion.

Earlier, Shri Naidu went around an exhibition which displayed cutting edge and socially-relevant technologies developed NIOT.

The Governor of Tamil Nadu, Shri  Banwarilal Purohit, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Science and Technology & Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Shri O.Panneerselvam, the Minister for Fisheries and Personnel & Administrative Reforms, Govt. of Tamil Nadu, D. Jayakumar and Dr. M.A. Atmanand, Director, National Institute of Ocean Technology were among the dignitaries present on the occasion.

Following is the full text of the speech –

“I am delighted to be here today at the National Institute of Ocean Technology on the occasion of its Silver Jubilee Celebrations. 

My heartiest congratulations to both, NIOT and the Ministry of Earth Sciences for their successful voyage and in reaching this milestone!

I am happy to note that NIOT is carrying out the state-of-art research in ocean-related field. Apart from having demonstrated technologies like desalination plants for the island communities, I am told that NIOT, among others, is engaged in data collection for tsunami warning and beach restoration which has immense benefits to the society.

I am informed that NIOT is also working towards developing deep-sea mining system with technologies for harnessing resources from ocean to meet the country’s growing mineral requirements and increase the country’s self sufficiency in the near future.

The development of technologies for the sustainable harvesting of living and non-living resources of the ocean is in line with the Blue Economy policy of the Government of India and will empower the nation to be a leader in Oceans like in space technology.

It is a matter of pride that NIOT is carrying out state-of-art research on par with the international ocean research organizations.

The importance of oceans is not new to us and our epics spoke of Samudra Manthan thousands of years ago. India’s connection to the ocean related activities like naval warfare and trade dates back to ancient times.  The oldest port of  Lothal and the first century Chola port of Poompuhar are examples of our connection with marine infrastructure development. A Roman report describes how the trade vessels were escorted by the King’s fleet from the Poompuhar port to the estuary as it was a natural harbor in the mouth of the river Kauvery.

Mamallapuram, which has recently hosted the meeting between the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi and Hon’ble President of the People’s Republic of China, Shri Xi Jinping was a significant port city during the Pallava period in the 7th century. It was also a thriving port until the end of ninth century with the town being part of China’s ‘Silk Route’ and India’s ‘Spice Route’.

Kanchipuram’s silk industry owes its genesis to the import of raw silk from China through Mamallapuram. Starting from Ashoka, all Indian rulers especially Rajendra Chola have shown their prowess over the seas and therefore we have traditionally acquired knowledge of creating marine infrastructure like landing jetties, mid-sea transfers of material from huge crafts to small boats and transport of material through estuaries.

I understand that the mission of NIOT is to develop world-class technologies and their applications for sustainable utilization of ocean resources, to provide competitive, value added technical services and solutions to organizations working on ocean-related activities and to develop a knowledge base and institutional capabilities in India for management of ocean resources and environment.

I am happy to note that NIOT’s research includes detailed engineering for creation of sustainable coastal and offshore infrastructure, ocean data collection capability, marine bio-geochemistry, marine pollution, oceanography, marine ecology, marine drugs and mariculture technologies.

Technology is needed for protection of coastal areas from negative impacts of climate change and for development of blue coastal infrastructure for the benefit of society. I am happy to note that NIOT is carrying out real time ocean observation network in Polar region for long-term monitoring of Arctic region for climate change studies.

India’s coastline is over 7500 km long and has the potential to provide food and livelihood to a substantial population by enhancing global trade, especially those relating marine and coastal environments which constitute a key resource for economic development.

I am also pleased to note that NIOT is working on almost all aspects of the six priority pillars of blue economy– Fisheries and Aquaculture; Renewable Ocean Energy; Seaports and Shipping; Offshore Hydrocarbons and Seabed Minerals; Marine Biotechnology, Research and Development and Tourism.

The Blue Economy will aid in achieving the 14th goal of UN Sustainable Development Goals, which is “Life below Water”. It states “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”. Blue economy also includes intangible economic benefits that may not be marketed, such as carbon sequestration, coastal protection, cultural values and biodiversity.

I am quite confident that NIOT is well positioned to address the important challenge of blue economy – to understand and better manage various aspects of ocean sustainability, ranging from sustainable fisheries to ecosystem’s health to preventing pollution.  While playing a sheet anchor role in sustainable management of ocean resources, NIOT must forge partnerships and collaborations across sectors and borders.

Niti Aayog has noted that oceans will become new centers of economic activity in this era of advanced technology. While oceans already account for significant trade and commerce in the fields of shipping, offshore oil and gas, fishing, undersea cables, and tourism, the emerging industries such as aquaculture, marine biotechnology, ocean energy and sea-bed mining have the potential to create jobs and spur worldwide economic growth.

There is a need to give a strong thrust to research activities and innovation in the areas of Ocean Energy, Marine Biology and Biotechnology for the nation to become a leader in those sectors and NIOT can be a forerunner for achieving the milestone.

As many of you know, the United Nations has announced the decade 2021-2030 as the ‘Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development’. I am happy to note that India is committed to take proactive action towards a healthy and resilient ocean.

In view of the important role played by Oceans, the Ministry of Earth Sciences has launched the Deep Ocean Mission covering all aspects required for sustainable and environmentally-safe harvesting of ocean resources.

I wish the Ministry of Earth Sciences and NIOT all success in their ambitious project—‘SAMUDRAYAAN’, which envisages sending three aquanauts to ocean depths with their Manned Submersible in next few years. With this India will join select club of nations to conquer both space and deep oceans.

In continuing your voyage towards fifty years, I am happy to note that you have already initiated working towards several long-term goals.  Before concluding, I would like to congratulate NIOT once again for reaching this milestone and I am confident that NIOT will play a leading role in the coming years in developing cutting edge technology for exploration of Deep Ocean resources and security of the Indian Ocean. I wish NIOT all success in your future endeavors

Thank you!

Jai Hind!”

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RRK/MS/MSY/RK

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