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 significance.

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 enhancement.

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 :