Ministry of ocean development gets a new name

Earth Commission on the rise

Published: Thursday 15 June 2006

india has set up a new Earth Commission and renamed its Union ministry of ocean development the Union ministry of earth sciences.

The move is important since it is seen as the the first step of the Indian government to integrate all researches on land, ocean and atmoaspheric systems.

"The creation of the new ministry emerges from the government's idea of taking up an integrated view of earth system sciences that includes the land, the ocean and the atmosphere," says Kapil Sibal, the Union science minister. The new administrative set-up will have the weather behemoth, India Meteorological Department (imd), and the other weather centres under its jurisdiction.

The reorganisation has however left out many research and operational agencies involved in earth science, oceanography and remote sensing. "The ministry is planning to network all these institutions falling outside the ministry's ambit through a series of programme offices," says Sibal.

When asked why imd was moved from the Department of Science and Technology (dst) to the new ministry, the minister said, "The previous system was not working. There was a disconnection between the department of science and technology and the Indian meteorology. Besides, various structural changes were required to address the functional flaws."

A leading earth scientist with the Indian Institute of Technology Mumbai, too, says, on condition of anonymity, that moving the Indian meteorology is an appreciable step, as the former was not functioning well under dst. Earlier, the Indian Meteorogical Department was under the Union ministry of civil aviation.

The 12-member Earth Commission, structured on the similar lines as Space Commission and Atomic Energy Commission, shall guide the work of the ministry. Policies will be executed through a newly planned Earth System Organisation, similar to Indian Space Research Organisation.

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