Union budget: Department of space allocated Rs 12,543 crore, 9 per cent less than last year

ISRO finds no space in union budget, gets least funds in  3 yrs amid big launch plans
Representational Image. (File Photo)
Representational Image. (File Photo)

CHENNAI: Even as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) preps for big-ticket missions, the department of space saw a cut in budgetary allocation. 

The union budget for 2023-24 allocated Rs 12,543.91 crore as against Rs 13,700 crore earmarked in the last budget, a reduction of about 9%. This is the lowest amount in the last three years. In 2021-22, the allocation was Rs 12,642 crore.

However, in comparison to the 2022-23 revised allocations, the department got 18% more this year. This comes as the department of space, which drives India’s space programme, has just limped out of the Covid-19 slump causing multiple delays to ISRO’s key missions.

The forthcoming fiscal year is expected to be a busy one for ISRO with all of its centres attaining full-operational capacity. Some ambitious projects like Chandrayaan-3, Aditya-L1 and a host of commercial launches are lined up, said ISRO officials. 

Out of the total budget, a major chunk, Rs 9,441 crore, was allocated for space technology, which includes achieving 84% readiness for Gaganyaan - Indian Human Spaceflight Programme. A number of flight tests and test vehicles for the development of human-rated launch vehicles and crew escape systems are expected to be carried out by ISRO this year.

 Around Rs 1,559 crore was allocated for space applications, which deal with developing payloads and applications for earth observation, navigation, communication and disaster management support. Another Rs 531 crore was allotted for expanding the network of communication satellites. 

Meanwhile, the last update from ISRO on the Gaganyaan programme was in January when chairman S Somanath said that the launch was pushed probably to next year as the space agency is developing environmental control and life support for astronauts. Currently, ISRO has four approved missions, including NASA-ISRO SAR (NISAR) satellite, Chandrayaan-3, Aditya-L1 and SPADEX. 

Somanath earlier said the best-suited opportunity for the launch of Chandrayaan-3 would be between June and July 2023. Aditya-L1 will also be launched in the next fiscal year.   

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