The Department of Ocean Development was created in July, 1981 as a part of the Cabinet
Secretariat directly under the charge of the Prime Minister. From March, 1982 it became a separate
Department. Department of Ocean Development has been functioning as a nodal Department for
organising, coordinating and promoting ocean development activities in the country, in line with the
Ocean Policy Statement of 1982. The programmes pursued by the Department over the years have also
kept pace with developments world over and addressed national needs and issues.
The programmes of the Department are directed towards:
Technology Development Programmes for future applications with strategic, industrial and economic
Societal Programmes with direct/indirect benefit for the community by technology applications and
pilot project demonstration with the participation of the community for their socio-economic prosperity,
and for coastal area development.
Marine Resources Programmes for exploration of marine living and non-living resources, techno-
economic studies to evolve strategies for sustainable exploration and utilisation, and resource
Multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary Polar Science Programmes and Antarctic Expeditions with
scientific and geo-political significance.
Capacity Building Programme towards self-reliance through basic scientific research in ocean sector,
human resource development and establishing Centres of Excellence in academic institutions.
Creation of public awareness of ocean, its potential and uses.
With the ratification of the UN Convention on Law of the Sea, a new international order has been
established for the oceans. India is represented in almost all the important bodies on oceans. India will
stand to benefit enormously by provisions of the convention, if we can build an integrated approach for
scientific planning, formulation, implementation and overall management of the programmes with a
comprehensive organisational and institutional back up. The scientific research and technology
development programmes are formulated, coordinated and executed through autonomous institutions,
supported by the Department and attached offices of the Department. These multi-disciplinary and multi-
institutional programmes are assisted by National Research Laboratories, academic institution and
industries. The oceanographic programmes have national, regional and global importance. The
Department is the nodal agency for several international programmes in the ocean sector and represents
the country in Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, Regional Committee of
IOC in Coastal Indian Ocean (IOCINDIO), International Sea-Bed Authority (ISBA) and the State Parties
of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS)
and its scientific and managerial organs - Commission on Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living
Resources (CCAMLR), Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programme (COMNAP), Scientific
Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), etc. These activities have scientific, economic and geopolitical
impacts. Further, Marine Research and Capacity Building is one of the key programme areas of the
Department to promote basic research in marine science and establish centres of excellence in academic
institutions and for self reliance. Hence, the activities of the Department address Scientific Research and
Technology Development with orientation towards applications, International programmes arising out of
International Conventions, treaties and bilateral and multilateral cooperative ventures, and capacity
building and human resource development for self reliance.
The Organisation and Activities of the Department and programmes and projects implemented by
the Department during 1998-99, are given below :