On July 27, the Minister of Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Environment, Forests & Climate Change of the central government in India, Dr. Harshvardhan launched a platform called “Sagar Vani” (literal translation: Voice of the Sea) to provide integrated ocean information services in a timely fashion to the the various user communities, such as fishermen, the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard, merchant and passenger shipping agencies, offshore oil & gas exploration agencies, research organisations and coastal communities in general.
Information provided includes Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ) advisories, Ocean State Forecast (OSF), High Wave Alerts and Tsunami early warnings. Information on the state of the seas is vital for the smooth operational activities not only for those who are venturing out into the sea, but also for those at the sea shore. During cyclones and other extreme situations, alerts are issued based on forecasts, to the general public, including fisherfolk, as well as the administrators of the coastal stretch under risk so that that the population under threat is relocated to safer places.
India has very long coastline of over 7500 km (including Andaman, Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands) and there are 3,288 marine fishing villages and 1,511 marine fish landing centres in India and the marine fisherfolk population is 3,999,214. About 927,120 fishermen were involved in actual fishing, either full or part time.
ESSO-Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), is responsible for providing ocean information and advisory services to society, industry, government agencies and the scientific community.
ESSO-INCOIS currently serves around 317,000 users either directly through in-house efforts or by partnering outside organisations, such as NGOs, coastal research centres and universitie (In areas with no electricity supply or with serious power issues, the dissemination is by Manual Display Boards) and Black Boards at other fish landing centres. However, this still leaves a gap of around 610,000 or 66% of total active fisherfolk.
Presently, the advisories are being disseminated to the stakeholders from different service sections and through various stakeholders and partners, which might cause delay in dissemination of the information.
In order to ensure effective and timely dissemination of the advisories to the end users, Sagar Vaani was developed as an Integrated Information Dissemination System (IDS) by ESSO-INCOIS in collaboration with industry partner, Gaian Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
The ‘Sagar Vani’ is a software platform where various dissemination modes will be integrated on a single central server. The information will be delivered through multilingual SMS, Voice Call / Audio Advisory, Mobile Apps (User / Admin modules), Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), Email, Fax, Digital Display Boards, Radio / Television broadcast units, IVRS (Interactive Voice Response) etc.
The system also has facilities to provide access to various stakeholders (NGOs, State Fishery Departments, Disaster Management Authorities, etc.), so that they can further disseminate the ocean information and provide alerts to the user community.
With this system, the services will be disseminated in local languages using advanced machine learning capabilities.