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With Rs 10.7k crore, Space gets its best share in 5 years

At Rs 10,783 crore, the Department of Space (DoS) gets its biggest outlay to date and also the best yearly increase in five years — of 18.6%.

It also surpasses Rs 10,000 crore — well above the Rs 9,093 crore that was allocated to it last February.

Also, for fiscal 2017-18 which ends on March 31, DoS drew about ₹62 crore more than the last year’s outlay, revised estimates for the year show.

Back in 2013-14, DoS probably received its best ever annual increase of nearly 40% over the previous year.

Looking at only the outlays since 2013, the DoS sequentially received an increase of 40%, 6.6% 2%, 8%, 14% and now, 18.6% over the respective previous year.

While a break-up by projects or missions is not given out, the departmental outlay shows Rs 6,576 crore for space technology (it was Rs 5,984 in the revised budget for 2017-18.

This segment includes money towards centres involved in satellites, launch vehicles, propulsion, launch, post-launch satellite tracking; besides operational projects and those under development.

The satellites are the backbone of national and social activities such as communication, television and radio broadcasts, telephony, Internet connectivity, location and disaster relief support, military security, resource mapping, planning, decision making and to set up big infrastructure projects. Around 100 departments have begun to intensively tap satellite-based information.

MOM-2 & Venus ::

Under Space Sciences, Rs 230 crore has been earmarked together for the proposed second Mars Orbiter Mission, a Venus mission plan, a space docking experiment, small satellites, X-ray polarimeter satellite called XpoSat, climate programme and sponsored research.

‘Space applications’, which include payload development, remote sensing and disaster management related support, received Rs 1,746.25 (higher than last year’s Rs 1,586.46.)

The proposed second Mars Orbiter Mission, a Venus mission plan, a space docking experiment, small satellites, X-ray polarimeter satellite XpoSat, climate programme and sponsored research, received ₹230 crore under the Space Sciences head.

The INSAT, GSAT satellite systems got an outlay of Rs 411.6 crore, but lower than last year’s Rs 530 crore. This covers satellites, transponder lease and overseas launch contracts for heavy satellites.

Globally tight belt ::

In space and planetary activities, ISRO counts in the top-5 league of government-run space agencies while it is known for achieving missions to Moon and Mars at shoestring budgets.

Compared with the yearly budgets of 23 space agencies of other countries, (mostly available for 2017) DoS / Indian Space Research Organisation ranks at no. 9 after China, according to figures collated online.

For 2017-18, NASA led the stack at $19.5 billion; European Space Agency at $6.2 billion, Russia’s Roscosmos at $3.3 billion, French CNES, German DLR and Japan’s JAXA each topping $2 billion; and ISRO at $1.4 billion (Rs9,093 crore).

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