Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday that India is implementing reforms in the space industry that were not previously considered, emphasising the sector’s critical role in keeping the world connected during the Covid-19 epidemic, from testing to data transfer and analysis.
After inaugurating the Kalpana Chawla Centre for Research in Space Science and Technology (KCCRSST) at Chandigarh University, Singh said, “We are doing such reforms in the space industry that were not even thought about prior.”
He also announced a Rs 10 crore scholarship programme for the children of defence personnel from the three services.
According to the minister, the government has made the space industry a key part of its vision because of its importance and potential.
He stressed the importance of the sector in today’s world, saying it is intertwined with mapping, imaging, and connection services, as well as fast transit, weather forecasting, disaster management, and border security.
From testing to data transfer and analysis, it was critical in keeping the world connected throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Singh.
He also referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s four fundamental reform planks for the sector. These pillars are private sector innovation freedom, the role of government as an enabler, youth preparation for the future, and viewing space as a resource for progress.
He hoped that the efforts outlined in the pillars will propel the space sector to new heights and provide the country’s progress a new direction.
The defence minister compared KCCRSST to ‘Pride of India’ Kalpana Chawla, anticipating that the research facility will achieve new heights of accomplishment, akin to the late India-born astronaut’s extraordinary feats, which earned international fame to her homeland.
“When I want to know the future of India, I don’t gaze at stars and planets, but into the eyes of tiny children,” Singh stated, quoting India’s first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. “The future of India is safe if their eyes are bright and full of hope,” Nehru famously declared.
“If you look at other planets and constellations, more Indians like Aryabhatta, Vikram Sarabhai, Satish Dhawan, and Kalpana Chawla will emerge from among you all,” he told the youngsters in attendance.
He advocated for a robust and long-term public-private cooperation to take India’s education and research sectors to the next level and transform it into a knowledge economy.
“Today, the private sector has access to a wide range of space-related opportunities. We strongly welcome the private sector, whether in defence or space,” he added, emphasising the Centre’s commitment to strengthening the private sector for the nation’s holistic development.
Singh also outlined some of the government’s initiatives targeted at maximising the private sector’s potential, stating that the government is sharing technology and experience, as well as offering its different facilities to the industry.
He claimed that he is considering transferring mature technologies.
He stated that the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) will serve as a single point of contact for all concerns relating to the space sector.
He also praised the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for its decades of hard work and vision in becoming one of the world’s top space agencies.
“The government is putting a special emphasis on promoting the use of space-based applications across all sectors,” he added. “This includes using geo-tagging for roads and other infrastructure in villages, monitoring development work in remote areas through satellite imagery, and identifying problems related to crops and fields for farmers.”
For the nation’s overall development, the Union minister also called for working on the development of futuristic technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Big Data, and Block-chain.
He hailed Kalpana Chawla as a symbol of women’s liberation who “went a flight beyond imagination” in his memory.
The Kalpana Chawla Centre for Research in Space Science and Technology, for example, was founded with the goal of training students in space science, satellite creation, and future space research issues.
The ground control station for Chandigarh University’s Student Satellite (CUSat), an in-house produced nano-satellite being designed by the university’s students, as well as a Geo-Spatial Centre for research, would be housed in the state-of-the-art facility.
On the eve of Independence Day in 2022, the CUSat will be one of 75 student-built spacecraft launched into space.