Laxity delays Isro's NAVIC programme: CAG

Laxity delays Isro's NAVIC programme: CAG

An indigenous satellite navigation system by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is not ready even six years after the original deadline even though the space agency spent 90% of the budget that was allotted.

A key reason behind the delay in operationalising the Navigation with Indian Constellation (NAVIC) system was "sheer administrative laxity" on the part of the Isro as some of the contracts were awarded almost nine years after the project was approved, the Comptroller and Auditor General said in a report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

Almost all the contracts were delayed between two and nine years.

The Union Cabinet in May 2006 sanctioned Rs 1,429 crore for NAVIC, which was to be ready by December 2011.

It was to have a constellation of seven satellites (IRNSS-1A to IRNSS-1G), a ground segment for maintenance and operation and civilian and military users.

The NAVIC programme, however, was not operational as on June 2017, noted the CAG.

An audit review of 45 contracts, awarded for the programme, illustrate the delay in executing these contracts between 2-9 years.

Seven contracts remained unfulfilled as on May 2017  -  more than five years after the scheduled date of completion of the project.

"A substantial part of the delays were attributable to inadequate follow-up, lack of coordination with other agencies as well as sheer administrative laxity," said the CAG report.

The audit watchdog acknowledged that there were also reasons beyond Isro's control.

For instance, the launch of one of the satellites (IRNSS-1H) failed last year necessitating the need to have a replacement satellite that is likely to be launched by end of March.

The space segment of the programme didn't witness delay. But every component of the user segment and ground segment were completed way beyond the target date.

"Delays in award and execution of contracts for NAVIC components resulted in the non-realisation of these components leading to non-operationalisation of the NAVIC programme even after five years of the target date," noted the CAG report.

The home-made system was conceived to improve the navigation over the Indian landmass and surrounding areas of up to 1,500 km for civil and military use.

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