Budget 2020: Space sector share up 8% to Rs 13,479 cr to develop space tech

GSLV-MkIII-M1 rocket carrying Chandrayaan-2 lifts off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, at Sriharikota in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh | Photo: ISRO
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday allocated Rs 13,479.47 crore for 2020-21, up by around eight per cent compared to last year's 2019-20 announcement. Major chunk of the expenditure is towards central sector schemes projects.

The increase in allocation comes on the back of new projects planned by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) including Chandrayaan 3, Gaganyaan (human space programme), small satellite launch vehicle (SSLV) development and a new space port in Tamil Nadu among others.

According to Demands for Grants, 2020-2021 Department of Space, Budget Revenue is estimated to be around Rs 5,704.20 crore, while capital is estimated to be around Rs 7,775.27 crore taking the total to Rs 13,479.47 crore. In 2019-20, the allocation was Rs 12,473.26 crore, which was 13 per cent higher compared to Rs 11,200 crore in 2018-19.

The revised budget for 2019-20 was estimated to be around Rs 13,139.26 crore.

A bulk of the allocation will be towards space technology (Rs 9,761.50 crore), followed by space applications (Rs 1,810 crore), space sciences (Rs 265 crore) and INSAT satellite systems (Rs 750.50 crore).

Meanwhile, experts reiterated that Isro has to work within the limited budget, though the quantum has increased, considering it has major projects lined up. Isro officials were not available for comment immediately.

Isro last year had said that it was planning to increase its launches to at least 32 in 2019, double the number of launches it achieved in 2018, and lined up major missions including Chandrayaan-2, the country’s second lunar exploration mission after Chandrayaan-1, Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III (GSLV Mk-III) that is expected to carry three Indian astronauts to space in 2022.

India's Human Space Mission alone would require around Rs 10,000 crore, though it is targeting to send astronauts to space by 2022, major developments need to happen this year which would require funding.

In launch vehicles, Isro expects to fly its first small rocket with a carrying capacity of 500-700 kg in the next few months.

Today, Isro has two operational launchers, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). The next variant of GSLV is GSLV Mk-III with a three-stage lift-launch vehicle. The vehicle has core-liquid booster and indigenous high-thrust cryogenic engines, designed to carry four-tonne class of communication satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).

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