Aditya-L1″, India’s first solar mission, will reach its destination, Lagrange Point 1, early next month, to be precise, around the first week of January 2024, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh said today.

Meanwhile, ISRO will conduct a series of tests related to India’s maiden human Space mission, Gaganyaan, in the course of the next year, he said.

During an exclusive interview to Sansad TV in New Delhi, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology, MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said, this has been possible due to the courage and conviction of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, who broke taboos of the past and provided an enabling milieu by opening up India’s Space sector to private players, as a result of which there is an overwhelming response from Startups and Industry.

With the unlocking of Space Technology, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the common masses of the country have been able to witness the launch of the mega space events like Chandrayaan-3 and Aditya. Over 10,000 people came to see the Aditya launch and some 1,000 media persons were there during the Chandrayaan-3 launching.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, this is also vindicated by the fact that India witnessed investment of over Rs.1,000 crore in Space Startups in the last nine months of the current financial year from April to December 2023.

“From just one Startup in the Space sector four years back, we have almost 190 private Space Startups after opening up of the sector and the earlier ones of them have now turned entrepreneurs,” he said.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, although Indian Space programme started late, about the time when the leading Space faring nations were racing to the Moon, today the world is eagerly awaiting Chandrayaan-3 studies which landed on the virgin South Polar region of Moon. During PM Modi’s visit to Washington, the NASA made a proposal to send an Indian astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS), that is likely to materialize next year, he said.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, India is utilizing Space Applications in almost all sectors such as Infrastructure Development, ‘Svamitva’ GPS land-mapping, Smart Cities etc.

“Space research now touches each and every person’s life in one way or the other,” he said, adding Atomic Energy is today being used for Clean Energy and in food preservation and the medical field.

Pointing out that about 50-60% of NASA’s projects come from private funding, Dr Jitendra Singh said the Anusandhan National Research Foundation (NRF), which will have about 70% funding from non-Government sources, will pave the way for PPP model in India’s S&T goals.

“If we have to achieve global standards, our parameters and our yardstick have to be global,” he said.

After the success of G20 and India’s efforts towards mitigating climate change, Dr Jitendra Singh said, “the world is ready to be led by us.”

Citing PM Modi’s slogan “Vocal for Local”, Dr Jitendra Singh said, there has been a spurt in sale of local products. “Khadi for fashion, Khadi for nation,” has become the trend, he said, stating that India is now witnessing reverse brain drain.

“Experts in Space research who had migrated abroad are returning and setting up Startups,” he said.

With PM Modi’s policy of ‘Minimum Government, Maximum Governance’, Dr Jitendra Singh said, Government has today brought transparency and citizen participation towards achieving ‘Ease of Living” for the common man.

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