Bengaluru: Budget hike favoured for space agency to enhance capacity

Bengaluru, Feb 5 (IANS) The Indian space agency should get 50 percent hike in the union budget for 2016-17 to enhance its manpower and launch more satellites, a parliamentary committee chief said on Friday.

“We have recommended 50 percent enhancement in the budgetary allocation to the Indian Space Research Organation (ISRO) for increasing its manpower and capacity building more satellites,” parliamentary standing committee on science & technology chairman Ashwini Kumar told reporters here.

The visiting 11-member panel discussed the space agency’s requirements at a meeting wits its top officials, including chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar here.

“The space agency has informed us that it has increase human resources, especially the scientific manpower to build and launch more satellites every year for meeting requirements of the country and its customers,” Ashwini Kumar said after discussions.

“The country needs to pay more attention on research and development (R&D) and build more satellites to launch them. No dearth of funds to support scientific establishments like ISRO, which has put our country on the global map with its achievements in space technology,” he added.

The total outlay for the space agency is Rs.7,200 crore, including Rs.5,800 crore budgetary allocation and Rs.1,400 crore as non-plan grant.

“We will certainly recommend 50 percent hike in the outlay in our report to the government,” said Ashwini Kumar, a Congress lawmaker in the Rajya Sabha.

The ISRO chairman said it urgently needed more scientists, as replacement was happening to fill posts falling vacant on retirement.

‘We need more manpower to build various satellites and increase our R&D capacity to develop new generation satellites and launch vehicles (rockets),” said Kiran Kumar, who is also the space department’s secretary.

The panel’s other members are C.P. Narayanan, P.M. Pandian, Bhupinder Singh, Prabhasinh Chauhan, Ninong Ering, K. Gopal, Shivaji A. Patil, N.K. Pradhan, Vikram Usendi and M. Vasanthi.

The panel, which also looks after the environment and forests ministry, is on a tour of Karnataka and Goa to discuss on the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015.

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