New Delhi: Minister for Mines Pralhad Joshi launched India’s National Geoscience Data Repository (NGDR) portal on Tuesday. NGDR is a comprehensive online platform that will host the geospatial data for the entire country. “The launch of the portal puts India in the league of nations like the US, Australia and Canada, that are advanced in their mineral mining journey. I invite the industry and researchers to make the most of this data,” said the minister while launching the NGDR portal.
Spearheaded by the Geological Survey of India (GSI) and Bhaskarachaya Institute of Space Applications and Geoinformatics (BISAG-N), the NGDR portal will democratise critical geoscience data by placing it in the public domain for anyone to access. “The idea is that the industry and the academia should use this data to undertake more and more mineral exploration projects. India should aim to be Atmanirbhar (self-reliant) in minerals that are present within the country,” Joshi told stakeholders at the launch ceremony.
Terming the NGDR portal the culmination of the work of several years, Mines Secretary VL Kantha Rao said that out of the total 32 lakh square kilometres area of the country, the NGDR portal makes available detailed geospatial data of each square kilometre of 20 lakh square kilometres’ area. He added that offshore exploration data of close to 20 lakh square km is also available on the portal.
“The data will be useful to private agencies for preparing preliminary studies for exploration projects. I want to invite industry partners and researchers to make use of this data and undertake exploration projects which we can fund as well through NMET (National Mineral Exploration Trust),” said Rao.
A repository of India’s geospatial data existed earlier in the form of GSI’s Bhukosh. However, the portal which was unveiled by Joshi on Tuesday is an open access platform where data can not just be accessed by everyone but can be updated by any Notified Private Exploration Agency (NPEA) based on their own exploration projects. Therefore, over the years, as more and more geospatial data is collected, it can be added to the portal by any entity, private or public, undertaking the exploration. The minister said that a training programme will also be undertaken by the Ministry of Mines and the GSI for training industry partners in how to use the NGDR platform.
The news comes a day after the Ministry of Mines announced a new scheme under which it plans to fund mineral exploration projects for critical and deep-seated minerals through NMET. Under the scheme, NPEAs which undertake exploration are also allowed to take part in the auction of the mineral blocks discovered by them.