Weather forecast systems under the National Monsoon Mission (NMM) will be extended up to the block level across the country by 2019, Union Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan said here. “We have recently launched the Rs 400 crore National Monsoon Mission to provide more accurate monsoon forecast to all concerned up to the block level,” the minister told reporters here on Friday night. Vardhan, who reached here on Thursday night to attend a programme in connection with the celebration of three years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government, said the NMM was a revolutionary step in weather forecasting and it would help the farmers, policy makers, administrators and all concerned alike.
He said: “To make weather forecasting with higher accuracy in the mountainous northeastern region, most modern Doppler weather radars have been installed in Cherrapunjee in Meghalaya, Mohanbari in Dibrugarh (Assam) and Agartala (Tripura). Weather details are being provided to 21 million farmers across the country.” He also said that his earth sciences ministry had launched a Rs 475 crore project and set up two mega centres at Koyna in Maharashtra and Shillong in Meghalaya for the study of earthquake prediction.
Experts consider India’s mountainous Northeast the sixth major quake-prone zone in the world. “Our scientists in collaboration with the scientists of 80 countries are also working on an ambitious project relating to tsunami prediction. The study in deep ocean is also on to predict sea-related predictions and discoveries,” said Vardhan, who is also taking care of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF).
“India has taken huge strides in the field of earth sciences and is actually providing early warning system to over 36 coastal countries in predicting tsunami and cyclone.” He said: “When the BJP-led NDA government assumed office in May 2014, only 356 km optical fibre cable had been laid. Now the present government has launched an ambitious project to connect all 2.50 lakh village panchayats by December 2018. After that e-governance would be further strengthened and it would reach to the doorsteps of the people.”
The central minister said that Prime Minister Modi had given top priority to the all-round development of the northeastern states. He said that a new programme would be launched soon to provide access to laboratory facilities to 75,000 students per year in the central schools.
“To convert ‘brain drain’ into ‘brain gain’ and to encourage the women scientists, the central government has launched many important schemes and programmes. Over 1,000 scientists who went abroad, have come back to India since 2014 and involved themselves in many projects and programmes,” Vardhan added.