CPI Opposes Privatisation of ISRO
D. RAJA, General Secretary, Communist Party of India has issued the following statement:
The government on Wednesday announced further steps in opening up the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) to private players. It even formed a new body Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACE), to allow private firms to access existing ISRO infrastructure, both ground and space-based, scientific and technical resources, and even data to carry out their space-related activities.
Privatization of ISRO runs against the objectives of using space research and its applications for national development. Founded in 1969 by legendary scientist Vikram Sarabhai. Beginning with active assistance from erstwhile USSR, our space scientists during its half a century of existence ISRO with it’s unparalled scientific achievements that include design and launching famous PSLV, GSLV satellites to Lunar, Mars and other inter planetary explorations. ISRO from the first satellite Aryabhatta grew to design of multi use satellite launchers and cryogenic fuels, generating huge geo-spatial remote satellite data, imageries and space technology now cuts across sectors, from Telecommunications (geo satellite data being applied in TVs and mobile phone communication), remote sensing applications to defence, weather, agriculture, transport to urban development. In August 2016, ISRO has successfully conducted the Scramjet (Supersonic Combusting Ramjet) engine test using Hydrogen and Oxygen from atmosphere as fuel proposed supersonic missions to Mars and other planets, a maiden achievement in world science.
All these has been achieved with huge investments made from public tax money and enormous knowledge generated in various public sector national research institutes and IITs.
ISRO Chairman Mr. Sivan says rockets, PSLV and GSLV, Sriharikota launch facilities and all the geo-spatial data to private players. India is already an active player in providing commercial satellite launching to Western powers like Germany, Japan, Sweden and UK. During the last three years 2017-18 alone ISRO from it’s commercial satellite launching in to space. Similar to global private entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Richard Branson, ISRO wants to initiate similar profitable commercial ventures and satellite launches in collaboration with private sector. These unprecedented and generous privatization of national space institutions to private industry is nothing but part of neo-liberal economic reforms that runs against the sentiments of self-reliance and sovereignty of our nation and hurts the self-respect of Indian science.
The CPI demands that the government should review its decision and stop privatisation of ISRO.