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PIB 4th January 2021

  1. Sagarmala Seaplane Services (SSPS)
  2. 40th Indian scientific expedition to Antarctica


Focus: GS 3;Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

Why in News?

Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways is kicking off ambitious Project of Sagarmala Seaplane Services (SSPS) with potential airline operators.

A Game- changer seaplanes services will facilitate faster and hassle-free travel across the country

 About Sagarmala Seaplane Services

  • Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways is initiating the process of commencing operations of the Seaplane services, on the select routes, under a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) framework through prospective airline operators.
  • The project execution and implementation would be through Sagarmala Development Company Ltd (SDCL), which is under the administrative control of the Ministry.
  • Several destinations are envisaged for seaplane operations.
  • The proposed Origin-Destination pairs under Hub and Spoke model include various islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep, Guwahati Riverfront & Umranso Reservoir in Assam, Yamuna Riverfront / Delhi (as Hub) to Ayodhaya, Tehri, Srinagar(Uttrakhand), Chandigarh and many other tourist places of Punjab & HP, Mumbai (as Hub) to Shirdi, Lonavala, Ganpatipule; Surat (as Hub) to Dwarka, Mandvi & Kandla, Khindsi Dam, Nagpur & Erai Dam, Chandrapur (in Maharashtra) and/or any other Hub & Spoke suggested by the Operator.
  • One such Seaplane Service is already in operation between Kevadia and Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad, which was inaugurated by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 31st October 2020. 
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Advantages of Sagarmala Seaplane Services
  • To provide connectivity and easier accessibility to remote locations, SDCL is exploring plans to leverage the potential of the vast coastline and numerous water bodies/rivers across India by commencing seaplane operations. 
  • Sea Plane will utilize the nearby water bodies for take-off and landing and thus connect those places in a much economical way as conventional airport infrastructure like a runway and terminal buildings are not required for seaplane operations.
  • The seaplanes services will be a game-changer providing a supplementary means of faster and comfortable transportation across the nation.
  • Apart from providing air connectivity to various remote religious/tourist places, it will boost tourism for domestic and international holidaymakers.
  • It will save travel time and stimulate localized short distance travelling especially in the hilly regions or across the rivers/lakes etc.
  • In addition to the infrastructural enhancements at the places of operations, it will enormously boost tourism and business activities.
  • By providing air connectivity to numerous remote, religious/tourist places and unexplored locations near the water bodies will make the journey easier.
  • It will generate employment opportunities and stimulate tourism on these new locations, which will consequently contribute to the country’s GDP in the long run.
Threats of Sagarmala Seaplane Services
  • Ecological Concerns regaridng Plant and Animal Life.
  • Threat to Wildlife.
  • Environment Pollution Problems.
  • Litter problems in tourism places.


Focus: GS 3;Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

Why in News?

40th Indian scientific expedition to Antarctica launched.

The chartered ice-class vessel MV Vasiliy Golovnin will make this journey and will reach Antarctica in 30 days.

After leaving behind a team of 40 members, it would return to India in April 2021. On return, it will also bring back the winter team of the preceding trip.

About 40th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica

  • India launched the 40thscientific expedition to Antarctica.
  • This Indian expedition marks four decades of country’s scientific endeavour to the southern white continent.
  • The 40th expedition journey will be flagged off from Goa on January 5, 2021, with 43 members onboard.
  • The chartered ice-class vessel MV Vasiliy Golovnin will make this journey and will reach Antarctica in 30 days.
  • After leaving behind a team of 40 members, it would return to India in April 2021.
  • The preceding 39th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica was launched in November 2019.
  • It mounted 27 scientific projects, focusing on climate process and its linkages with climate change, crustal evolution, environmental processes and conservation, the ecosystem of terrestrial and near shore regions, observational research, and polar technology.
  • Two additional collaborative projects with the National Institute of Polar Research, Japan were also undertaken.
  • The scientific and logistic activities of the 40thIndian Antarctic expedition are limited due to the existing challenges associated with COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The focus is to support the ongoing scientific projects on climate change, geology, ocean observations, electric and magnetic flux measurements, environmental monitoring, resupplying of food, fuel, provisions and spare and accomplishing the return of the winter crew.
About History of India’s Antartica Expedition
  • The Indian Antarctic expeditions began in 1981. 
  • the Indian Antarctic programme has now credited to have built three permanent research base stations in Antarctica named Dakshin Gangotri, Maitri, and Bharati.
  • As of today, India has two operational research stations in Antarctica named Maitri and Bharati.
  • The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa, manages the entire Indian Antarctic program.
About National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa
  • The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, (NCPOR) formerly known as the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) is an Indian research and development institution, situated in Vasco da Gama, Goa.
  • It is an autonomous Institution of the Department of Ocean Development (DOD), Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India which is responsible for administering the Indian Antarctic Programme and maintains the Indian government’s Antarctic research stations, Bharati and Maitri.
  • At present, NCPOR is an agency working under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India since 2006, by the notification of the President of India.
  • The NCPOR operates in different fields or tasks:-
  1. storing ice core samples, from Antarctica and the Himalayas.
  2. operating the Himadri and IndARC Arctic research stations in Svalbard, Norway.
  3. managing the oceanic research vessel ORV Sagar Kanya, the flagship of India’s fleet of oceanographic study vessels. This ship has contributed significantly  to India’s study of the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal, and the Indian Ocean.

February 2024