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IMD's 'structural fault' responsible for creation of new Ministry

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, May 10 (UNI) A fault-ridden met department was today blamed for the government's decision to form a new Ministry of Earth Sciences.

The state-run India Meteorological Department, which failed to alert the nation about the monster tsunami and issued an alert when there was no danger, was thwarting the government's plan to create a world-class Met department by 2009, Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters.

''It was a structural fault and that is why we have done a structural correction,'' Mr Sibal said a day after the Union Cabinet renamed the Ocean Development Ministry as Ministry of Earth Sciences.

IMD, which has been virtually an independent organisation under the Science and Technology Department, is now part of the new Earth Sciences Ministry, the only addition to the new dispensation.

Mr Sibal said the IMD posed several hurdles before his Ministry, such as procurement, expertise and human resources, forcing him to recommend its integration into the new Ministry.

''IMD was disconnected from Science and Technology Department.

It was an isolated department,'' he said.

Restructuring became the only solution after it was found that implementing the decision to create a world-class Met department by 2009 was becoming difficult, he added.

For example, while IMD needs 27 doppler radars today under the modernisation drive, it has only four, he said. ''I knew the previous system was not working and we wanted to make sure the 2009 timeframe was met,'' Mr Sibal said.

The cabinet also decided yesterday to constitute an Earth Commission, the nodal authority to oversee research in Earth Sciences, earthquake and tsunami, on the pattern of the Atomic Energy Commission and the Space Commission.

A new Earth System Organisation (ESO) like ISRO has also been created to act as an executive mechanism under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, consisting of the two major entities---Ocean Science and Technology department and IMD.

IMD under the new Ministry will enjoy the addition of a strengthened Seismological Institute and Earthquake Risk Evaluation Centre and personnel from the Department of Science and Technology.

Under the new set-up, organisations like Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology and the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting would report to ESO.

The Secretary, Earth Sciences will head the Earth Commission and ESO while the 12-member Commission will also comprise of the Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Home Secretary, Member-Secretary of the Planning Commission, two secretary-level members representing user Ministries and four eminent scientists.


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