After exploring space, India is set to launch a self-propelled manned submersible on its maiden ocean expedition to explore its depths and vast resources. Within this venture, a submarine will transport three individuals to a depth of 6,000 metres in a submersible vehicle.
“Samudrayaan” is a groundbreaking mission that represents India’s inaugural manned exploration of the ocean and forms an integral part of a broader deep ocean mission aimed at bolstering the nation’s Blue Economy policy.
The esteemed National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) in Chennai is spearheading the design and development of the Samudrayaan project, with an anticipated completion date of around 2026. Furthermore, Samudrayaan aligns seamlessly with the Indian Central government’s vision of ‘New India,’ emphasising the Blue Economy as one of the 10 key pillars of growth.
But, what is the Blue Economy?
Indian Blue Economy
The concept of the “blue economy” entails the responsible utilisation of marine resources to promote exploration, foster economic development, enhance livelihoods, and facilitate transportation—all while upholding the well-being and sustainability of marine and coastal ecosystems.
India’s blue economy is a vital component of its national economy, encompassing the entire spectrum of ocean resources and human-made economic infrastructure within its legal jurisdiction, spanning marine, maritime, and coastal zones. Presently, this sector contributes approximately 4% to the GDP, a figure anticipated to rise with further enhancements in its mechanisms.
Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, India’s blue economy has demonstrated resilience. Notably, it achieved exports valued at ₹56,200 crore (equivalent to US$ 7.2 billion) during the period between April 2021 and February 2022.
This underscores the global significance of maritime trade, as
- 80% of the world’s trade relies on the seas
- Approximately 40% of the global population resides in coastal areas
- Over 3 billion people depend on oceans for their livelihoods.
Samudrayaan Mission is aligned with the Prime Minister’s vision to promote the ‘Blue Economy.’ Its primary objective is to facilitate the responsible utilisation of oceanic resources, contributing to India’s economic prosperity and the generation of employment opportunities. Moreover, the mission is committed to safeguarding the well-being of marine ecosystems.
Samudrayaan Mission Objectives
In its quest for scientific exploration and resource utilisation, the Samudrayaan Mission boasts several key objectives:
- The foremost goal is to extract Polymetallic Nodules from a vast 75,000 square-kilometre expanse within the Central Indian Ocean Basin.
A significant revelation is that just 10% of these Polymetallic Nodules can potentially meet India’s energy requirements for the next century.
- The mission seeks to conduct crucial research into the mechanisms and impact of climate change.
- It also aims to establish a Tidal Energy Plant capable of sustained operation over multiple years.
- The mission will deploy MATSYA 6000, a submarine designed to carry three Oceanauts to the sea bed for extensive research. MATSYA 6000 is equipped to perform regular operations for up to 12 hours, and in emergency situations, it can operate for an impressive 96 hours.
Through this ambitious mission, India is poised to join the exclusive league of nations equipped with specialised technology and vehicles for conducting subsea missions. This puts India on par with the United States, Russia, France, Japan, and China in the realm of deep-sea exploration and research.
MATSYA 6000 Features
The MATSYA 6000 Submarine is an impressive piece of technology with a range of notable features:
- It comes equipped with multiple payloads and has the capacity to transport three Oceanauts on Deep Sea Exploration Missions.
- This submarine can perform continuous operations for 12 hours, showcasing its endurance.
- In emergency scenarios, it can extend its operations to an impressive 96 hours.
- Notably, a successful trial of MATSYA 6000 was conducted at 600 meters near Chennai, confirming its readiness for deployment in the upcoming deep-sea missions.
Samudrayaan Mission Budget
The financial allocation for the Samudrayaan Mission 2026 amounts to a substantial ₹4,077 crore, spread over a 5-year period, i.e. 2021-2026. The mission had its roots in 2021 when it was initiated under the auspices of the Ministry of Earth Sciences. Currently, there is a budget of ₹1,400 crore, of which ₹405.92 crore has already been disbursed and ₹ 225.35 crore has already been spent.
Samudrayaan Mission Launch Date
The Deep Ocean Mission was also launched in September 2021, under the Central Sector Scheme by the Ministry of Earth Sciences. Samudrayaan Mission is part of the Deep Ocean Mission. Matysa 6000 has been in development for nearly two years now. It is now primed for the inaugural sea trials, starting in early 2024 off Chennai Coast in the Bay of Bengal.
India’s Samudrayaan Mission, particularly the MATSYA 6000 submarine, represents a significant step towards the exploration and responsible utilisation of the ocean’s depths. Aligned with India’s vision of the Blue Economy, this endeavour not only seeks to extract Polymetallic Nodules but also conducts vital research on climate change and aims to establish a sustainable Tidal Energy Plant. The mission’s commitment to safeguarding marine ecosystems while contributing to economic growth and job creation reflects its importance in the Prime Minister’s vision for India.
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