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Rajya Sabha adopts resolution lauding Chandrayaan-3 scientists; Opp MPs flag ISRO budget cut

The Rajya Sabha Wednesday adopted a resolution appreciating the scientists behind the successful soft landing of Chandrayaan-3, after a discussion where the BJP highlighted the progress made under Prime Minister Narendra Modi while the Opposition recalled contributions of the country first prime minister Prime iniser Jawaharlal Nehru in laying the foundations.

During the discussion on “India’s glorious space journey marked by successful soft landing of Chandrayaan-3”, while congratulating the scientists, the Opposition questioned the government over the cut in Indian Space Research Organisation, (ISRO)’s budget by 8 per cent this year compared to last.

Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said the Indian space programme should be looked as an instrument of development and “not an instrument of muscular nationalism”, while accusing the BJP-led government of trying to “airbrush” the milestones achieved in the space sector since the 1960s.

He said there was a need to remind the House about who had contributed to Chandrayaan-3 mission so far, and not fall victim to the impression been created that the entire accomplishment is because of only one individual.

Ramesh added the success of the programme was based on contribution of successive prime ministers. “It has always been space for development, space for communication, space for rural development, space for weather forecasting, space for identifying sources of water. Indian scientists and technologists have never seen India’s space programme as a symbol of Indian nationalism,” he said.

Union Minister and Leader of the House Piyush Goyal said that the ISRO has made the entire nation proud.

Minister of State for Space Jitender Singh said the budget for space had increased by 142.68 per cent from 2013-2014 to 2023-2024 (Rs.5,168 crore to Rs.12,543.91 crore).

He said while he agreed “there was activity before”, the “scale and speed” of space programmes had gone up since 2014.

He said a total of 424 foreign satellites had been launched since the 1990s, of which 389 were in the last nine years. He said the government had earned a total of $174 million from these launches, and $157 million was since 2014.

“If we did not have the constraints that the scientists were confronted with, they could have gone much higher. That is what is sought to be provided in the last few years. It’s not giving credit to anybody or taking credit from anybody. The processes were there, but they have been sought to be given a new global outlook,” said Singh.

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RJD MP A D Singh started off by saying it was Nehru’s “vision” that had made today a reality, but successive PMs had made their contributions. CPM MP V Sivadasan raised the issue of the budget for science education and space research being cut.

The day’s proceedings ended with the House adopted the resolution with voice vote.

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The resolution, as read out by Dhankhar, said: “India’s space programme is a source of national pride, it is a continuing testimony to the nation’s inherent scientific and technological prowess. Affirmative ecosystem and visionary leadership has enabled our scientists to fully realise their potential, unleash their energy and attain this historical milestone. This House recognises and appreciates the scientists including, and particularly, the women scientists, for achieving this arduous feat with the successful soft landing of Chandrayaan-3 near unconquered South pole of the Moon.”

© The Indian Express (P) Ltd

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