Rajya Sabha adopts resolution lauding Chandrayaan-3 scientists; opposition MPs raise ISRO budget reduction concern

The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed a resolution praising the scientists behind the successful soft landing of Chandrayaan-3, following a debate in which the BJP emphasised the progress made under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while the Opposition recalled the contributions of the country’s first prime minister, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, in laying the groundwork.

While applauding the scientists during the discussion on “India’s glorious space journey marked by successful soft landing of Chandrayaan-3,” the Opposition questioned the administration about the 8% fall in the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) budget this year compared to previous.

Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said the Indian space programme should be viewed as a tool for development rather than “muscular nationalism,” accusing the BJP-led government of attempting to “airbrush” the achievements made in the space industry since the 1960s.

He stated that the House needed to be reminded of who had contributed to the Chandrayaan-3 mission thus far, and not fall victim to the misconception that the entire success was due to only one guy.

Ramesh went on to say that the program’s success was due to the contributions of succeeding prime leaders. “There has always been space for development, space for communication, space for rural development, space for weather forecasting, and space for locating water sources.” “Indian scientists and technologists have never viewed the country’s space programme as a symbol of Indian nationalism,” he remarked.

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

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

While he acknowledged “previous activity,” he stated that space programmes’ “scale and speed” have increased since 2014.

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

“If we hadn’t had the constraints that the scientists faced, they could have gone much higher.” That is what has been sought throughout the previous few years. It is neither giving credit to nor taking credit from anyone. The systems were already in place, but they needed to be given a fresh global perspective,” Singh explained.

RJD MP A D Singh began by noting that Nehru’s “vision” had made today a reality but that other Prime Ministers had also contributed. CPM MP V Sivadasan highlighted the subject of budget cuts to science education and space research.

The House adopted the resolution by voice vote at the close of the day’s sessions.

According to Dhankhar’s reading of the resolution, “India’s space programme is a source of national pride, serving as a continuing testament to the nation’s inherent scientific and technological prowess.” Our scientists have been able to completely develop their potential, unleash their energy, and achieve this historical milestone thanks to an affirmative ecosystem and innovative leadership. This House respects and thanks the scientists, notably the women scientists, for accomplishing this difficult achievement with the successful soft landing of Chandrayaan-3 near the Moon’s unconquered South Pole.”

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