Defence Minister Rajnath Singh articulated in a statement that India is undertaking such reforms in space sector which were not thought about earlier. He also underlined the crucial role played by the sector during COVID-19 pandemic in keeping the world connected from testing to data-transfer and analysis.
"We are undertaking such reforms in space sector which were not even thought about earlier," Singh said after inaugurating the Kalpana Chawla Centre for Research in Space Science & Technology (KCCRSST) at Chandigarh University.
He also launched a scholarship scheme worth Rs 10 crore for the wards of defence personnel of the three services. The minister said keeping in view its importance and understanding its potential, the government has made space sector an important part of its vision.
Underlining the importance of the sector in contemporary times, he said it is deeply connected with mapping, imaging and connectivity facilities, speedy transportation, weather forecast, disaster management as well as border security.
Singh noted that it played a crucial role in keeping the world connected during the COVID-19 pandemic, from testing to data-transfer and analysis.
He also recalled the four major pillars of reforms in the sector envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These pillars are freedom of innovation to private sector; role of government as an enabler; preparing the youth for the future; and viewing the space sector as a resource for progress.
He hoped that the actions identified in the pillars will take the space sector to newer heights and give new direction to the country's progress.
The defence minister likened KCCRSST with 'pride of India' Kalpana Chawla, hoping that the research facility will touch new heights of success, similar to the remarkable achievements of the late India-born astronaut who brought universal recognition to her country of origin.
Quoting India’s first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru, Singh said, "When I want to know the future of India, I do not look at stars and planets, but into the eyes of little children. If their eyes are bright and full of hope, the future of India is safe, Nehru had once said".
"More Indians like Aryabhatta, Vikram Sarabhai, Satish Dhawan and Kalpana Chawla will emerge from amongst you all if you eye different planets and constellations,” he told the students present on the occasion.
He called for an active and long-term public-private partnership to take the education and science sectors to a global level and make India a knowledge economy. “Today, the private sector is exposed to a large number of opportunities in the space sector. Whether it is defence or space, we are fully welcoming the private sector,” he said, reiterating the Centre’s commitment of strengthening the private sector for the holistic development of the nation.
Singh also listed out some of the measures aimed at tapping the potential of the private sector, and said, the government is sharing technology and expertise and opening its various facilities for the industry. He stated that transfer of matured technologies is under consideration.
On setting up of the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), he said, the independent agency will act as a single window for matters related to the space sector.
He also commended the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for being one of the world's top space agencies since decades through its hard work and vision.
“The government is laying special emphasis on promoting the use of space-based applications through every sector, including use of geo-tagging for roads and other infrastructure in villages, monitoring of development work in remote areas through satellite imagery, and identifying problems related to crops and fields for farmers is helping the government in many ways,” he added.
The Union minister also called for working towards development of futuristic technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Big-Data and Block-chain for the overall development of the nation.
Notably, the Kalpana Chawla Centre for Research in Space Science & Technology has been established with the objective of training students in space science, satellite development and meet future challenges in space research.
The state-of-the-art facility will be the Ground Control Station for the Chandigarh University's Student Satellite (CUSat), an in-house developed nano-satellite being designed by the students of the university and a Geo-Spatial Centre for research, besides other projects.
The CUSat will be among the 75 student-built satellites to be launched into space on the eve of the Independence Day in 2022.
(With PTI Inputs)