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Earth Sciences Ministry is the new name

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Kapil Sibal
Kapil Sibal

Special Correspondent

IMD merged with Ocean Development Ministry

NEW DELHI: The role and functioning of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) is set to change consequent to the Union Cabinet's decision on Tuesday to create a Ministry of Earth Science. It has been created by merging IMD with the Ministry of Ocean Development. IMD was earlier under the Department of Science and Technology in the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Briefing reporters on Wednesday, Union Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, who will hold additional charge of the new Ministry, said that the decision would help speed up the process of the IMD's modernisation.

The structure of the new Ministry would be on the lines of the Departments of Space and Atomic Energy. For instance, it would have an Earth Commission on the pattern of the Space Commission and the Atomic Energy Commission. An empowered body consisting of representatives of key Ministries, the Earth Commission would have powers of the Central Government, both administrative and financial, to carry out the Ministry's work.

The Secretary of the Ministry would be the chairperson of the Commission, and its members would include the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary, the Expenditure Secretary and the Member Secretary of the Planning Commission.

In addition, it would have eminent scientists and technologists, numbering up to four, as members and up to two Secretary-level members representing the user Ministries and departments.

The Ministry would also have an Earth Sciences Organisation (ESO), on the lines of the Indian Space Research Organisation. The ESO, which would also be headed by the Secretary of the Ministry, would act as the executing mechanism for the Ministry.

Mr. Sibal said the 21st century was likely to be dominated by concerns over water, global climate change, environment, land use and ocean resources.

There was a need for a better understanding of the complex interactions between oceans and the land.

The new Ministry would address this need by not only bringing together the expertise available with the Ministry of Ocean Development and the IMD, but also by creating a framework for collaboration with agencies and research institutions .

Besides IMD, the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology at Pune and the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecast would also be brought under the new Ministry.


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