Cabi­net clears ₹ 10,000 cr bud­get for manned space mis­sion

Mint Asia ST - - News - BNY EETU C HANDRA S HARMA & KO MAL G UP TA

In

what is set to be In­dia’s most am­bi­tious space mis­sion, the cen­tre on Fri­day, 28 De­cem­ber, put its fi­nal stamp of ap­proval on Ga­ganyaan, In­dia’s first manned flight to space which is slated to take off by 2022.

A cabi­net meet­ing chaired by Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi ap­proved the Ga­ganyaan pro­gramme for a seven-day low earth or­bit mis­sion, ac­cord­ing to a gov­ern­ment state­ment.

The de­ci­sion comes af­ter the an­nounce­ment by Modi on In­de­pen­dence Day that an In­dian would travel to space in an In­dian space­craft by 2022.

This would be one of the cheap­est manned space­flights in the world, with the en­tire mis­sion, in­clud­ing tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ment, flight hard­ware re­al­iza­tion and in­fra­struc­ture, es­ti­mated to cost no more than ₹ 10,000 crore.

“Ga­ganyaan is a great pro­gramme in pur­suit of In­dia’s space au­ton­omy. It is de­signed to carry about three hu­man be­ings for a max­i­mum pe­riod of seven days in space with the sup­port of academia, the sci­en­tific com­mu­nity, in­dus­try and Isro (In­dian Space Re­search Or­gan­i­sa­tion). It will be launched within 40 months af­ter the ap­proval,” the min­is­ter for law and jus­tice, and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said in the na­tional cap­i­tal on Fri­day while brief­ing the me­dia on the cabi­net’s de­ci­sions.

The mis­sion would make In­dia the fourth coun­try af­ter Rus­sia, the US, and China to launch a manned space­flight.

The cabi­net also ap­proved a pro­posal for amend­ing the Pro­tec­tion of Chil­dren from Sex­ual Of­fences (Pocso) Act, 2012, to make pun­ish­ment for vi­o­la­tions more strin­gent, in a move aimed at curb­ing child abuse.

The amend­ments pro­vide the op­tion of strin­gent pun­ish­ment, in­clud­ing the death penalty, for com­mit­ting ag­gra­vated pen­e­tra­tive sex­ual as­sault on a child. There is a pro­posal to also amend cer­tain pro­vi­sions of the Act to ad­dress the men­ace of child pornog­ra­phy. Th­ese in­clude levy­ing fines for fail­ing to de­stroy, delete or re­port porno­graphic ma­te­rial in­volv­ing a child.

“It is a very whole­some ini­tia­tive by the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia whereby the en­tire Pocso ar­chi­tec­ture is not only be­ing strength­ened but also en­larged so that ar­ti­fi­cial medicines and hor­mones are not abused to kill the child­hood of a child,” Prasad said.

In an­other land­mark de­ci­sion, the cabi­net com­mit­tee on eco­nomic af­fairs (CCEA) ap­proved the list­ing of seven cen­tral pub­lic sec­tor en­ter­prises—telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion Con­sul­tants In­dia, Railtel Cor­po­ra­tion In­dia, Na­tional Seed Cor­po­ra­tion In­dia, Tehri Hy­dro De­vel­op­ment Corp., Wa­ter & Power Con­sul­tancy Ser­vices and FCI Aravali Gyp­sum and Min­er­als and Ku­dremukh Iron Ore Com­pany—on the stock ex­change through an ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ing or fur­ther pub­lic of­fer. This will help the gov­ern­ment meet its dis­in­vest­ment tar­get.

The PSUS will be listed to un­lock their po­ten­tial and en­hance their value, said Prasad.

The Union cabi­net also ap­proved the draft Na­tional Com­mis­sion for Ho­moeopa­thy, Bill, 2018, and the draft Na­tional Com­mis­sion for In­dian Sys­tems of Medicine (NCIM) Bill, 2018. Th­ese seek to re­place the reg­u­la­tor Cen­tral Coun­cil for Ho­moeopa­thy (CCH) and Cen­tral Coun­cil for In­dian Medicine (CCIM) re­spec­tively, with a new body to en­sure trans­parency. The draft bill pro­vides for the con­sti­tu­tion of a na­tional com­mis­sion with four au­ton­o­mous boards en­trusted with con­duct­ing over­all ed­u­ca­tion of ayurveda, un­der the board of ayurveda and unani, sid­dha and sowa-rigpa. Both Bills pro­pose a com­mon en­trance exam and an exit exam that all grad­u­ates will have to clear to get prac­tis­ing li­cences. Fur­ther, a teacher’s el­i­gi­bil­ity test has been pro­posed to as­sess their stan­dard be­fore ap­point­ments and pro­mo­tions.

The Cen­tre also ap­proved the Coastal Reg­u­la­tion Zone No­ti­fi­ca­tion, 2018, which was last re­viewed and is­sued in 2011, with pe­ri­odic amend­ments to some clauses. The amend­ments would en­able re­de­vel­op­ment of coastal ar­eas to meet emerg­ing needs and ben­e­fit the hous­ing sec­tor and tourism av­enues.

It also ap­proved the sub­mis­sion of In­dia’s sec­ond Bi­en­nial Up­date Re­port (BUR) to the UN Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change, which pro­vides a com­pre­hen­sive up­date on the progress made by In­dia in its cli­mate ac­tions.

The CCEA also ap­proved a hike in the min­i­mum sup­port price (MSP) for co­pra by more than ₹ 2,000 per quin­tal for the 2019 sea­son. The MSP of milling co­pra will be ₹ 9,521 per quin­tal and that of ball co­pra will be ₹ 9,920 per quin­tal. [email protected] Shristi Choud­hary con­trib­uted to the story.

Ga­ganyaan, In­dia’s am­bi­tious space mis­sion, will be one of the cheap­est manned space­flights

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