Planning Commission pulled up for hurdles in ISRO project

Last Updated: Thursday, April 22, 2010 - 20:26

New Delhi: A Parliamentary panel has sternly
told the Planning Commission not to interfere in the decision
making process of ISRO, particularly in the ambitious Human
Space Flight (HSF) programme.

"The Committee fails to understand that when the Space
Commission, the highest policy making body of the Department
of Space, has given the go ahead to this (HSF) programme, why
stumbling blocks were created at the government level.

"Planning Commission should not come in the way of
conception and realisation of a programme only because it is
instrumental in providing allocations for the Department."

These strong words are in the 206th report of the
Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology,
Environment and Forests which was tabled in the Lok Sabha
today. The Committee is headed by Rajya Sabha member T
Subbarami Reddy.

Government has already approved the pre-project
activities for the Rs 12,400 crore human space flight project.

"We are now seeking phase-wise approvals for various
steps in the project," an Indian Space Research Organisation
(ISRO) spokesman said when asked to comment on the report.

The Committee appeared miffed at the drastic reduction in
the allocation for the HSF at the Revised Estimates stage in
2009-10.

In its report, the Committee noted that while the HSF was
allocated Rs 238 crore at the Budget Estimates stage, the was
reduced to Rs 30 crore at the Revised Estimates stage.

It said that the Department of Space had submitted the
Budget Report for the HSF which was reviewed and cleared by
the Space Commission, as well as, by a high-level Committee
chaired by the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission.

"However, it was indicated through the subsequent
discussions that the Human Space Flight programme could be
taken up in phases and the first phase should focus on
developing critical technologies such as crew module, service
module, crew escape system, environment control and life
support systems," the Committee report said.

It noted that the RE provision, therefore, had been
reduced in view of the pre-project activities.

The Committee expressed the view that the HSF should not
only be taken up in the right earnest but also be made
successful at the earliest.

"The Committee strongly recommends that the right to take
final decision in scientific and technical matters should be
vested with the Department of Space only and financial
constraints should not be allowed to come in its way towards
progress of these crucial and critical programmes," the report
said.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, April 22, 2010 - 20:26

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