Isro seeks 50 per cent hike in budget

Aims to increase scientific manpower, research and development

Isro seeks 50 per cent hike in budget

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has sought a 50 per cent hike in its budget to expand projects, undertake more research and development and increase scientific manpower. It has sought a hike of about Rs 2,900 crore in the planned budget, which is around Rs 5,800 crore, while the non-planned budget is around Rs 1,400 crore.

Isro has made this request to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests headed by its chairman, Ashwani Kumar.
The panel is on a study-visit to Bengaluru and Goa from February 4 to 7. Kumar, addressing a press conference at the Isro Satellite Integration and Testing Establishment (ISITE) on Friday, said the nation is deeply beholden to Isro for putting India on the global map in space and for enabling the country to break into the exclusive space club dominated by five countries led by the US. Isro, he said, had also enhanced the strategic capability of the country.

Kumar said funding will not be a problem and the country will support any request for enhancing scientific manpower. There are some funds from last year, which could not be utilised because of lack of manpower.

But from this year, the funds will be utilised once more as Isro is recruiting. Plans to make better utilisation of funds and hire extra manpower would be drafted by the end of this month, Kumar added.

Speaking about other issues, he said tobacco cultivation was harming the health of people. Tobacco revenue is nearly 17,000 crores but we are spending around one lakh crore to fight diseases arising from tobacco. We have to reduce the area under cultivation.

This year the area fell from 1,80,000 acres to 1,20,000 acres. This is a good sign. I have asked the tobacco board to spend a part of its revenue to find alternative means of livelihood for the nearly one lakh farmers cultivating tobacco now.”

The Committee also directed the tobacco board to commission a study on the impact of tobacco consumption on human health and tobacco curing on the environment in general. The panel has sought both these reports within six months.

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