25 Aug : The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, inaugurated here today the Indian Institute of Space Technology at Valiamala in Thiruvananthapuram by Video Conferencing. He also presented Awards to ISRO Scientists for their outstanding contribution.
Following is the text of the Prime Minister’s address on the occasion:
“I am delighted to be present at this awards ceremony honouring scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation. This awards ceremony is a fitting tribute to the legacy of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. Dr Sarabhai was not just the father of India’s space programme but an intellectual giant, a visionary and a great institution- builder. He was one of the scientific architects of modern India.
The individuals that we are honouring today have made significant contributions to our space programme. They have excelled in the field of rocketry, satellite technology and communications, development of space materials and other important areas. They have made important contributions to our efforts to indigenise our space programme. I heartily congratulate all the award winners and their families for their solid accomplishments in the service of the people of our great country.
I call upon ISRO to continuously build upon this culture of excellence and corporate responsibility that it has come to be associated with this distinguished family of scientists and technologists. It is this work culture and an atmosphere that nurtures excellence all round that has spurred our scientists, our technologists, our engineers to the kind of achievements that we are honouring and celebrating today.
Our country is truly proud of the remarkable achievements of the Department of Space and ISRO. I was associated with the Department of Space as a member of Finance for some four years way back in the 70s and that was the period when we first thought of launching the first INSAT satellite. Since then we have come a long way and that’s the tribute to the wise leadership of Dr. Satish Dhawan and his colleagues that our space programme has covered itself in every respect. There are eleven communication satellites and nine remote sensing satellites. They provide a wide array of space based services to our country.
I recall the pride I felt, like all other Indians, when I was informed of the success of the Chandrayaan Mission to the Moon. You have earned the respect of the entire international community and we take pride in the solid achievements of the space programme.
Two features particularly stand out in our space programme. The first is that it is a shining example of commitment of self-reliance and indigenous effort in an area of highly advanced and sophisticated technology.
The second is that it is firmly rooted to the ground and to the needs of the ordinary men and women of our country. The applications of our space based capabilities are and I say with great pride are of direct benefit to our national development goals. I am told that 50,000 classrooms are connected through the tele-education network. More than 375 hospitals are providing tele-medicine services to over 300,000 patients. Over 475 village resource centers are providing single window based space services in our country. That is remarkable record and we all feel great sense of pride in the achievements in this field.
I would urge the Department of Space to continuously reinforce both these aspects of the space programme which are distinguishable hallmarks. I am aware of the future plans of our space programme and the determination of our scientists and technologists to meet the challenges of the future. Exploring the new frontiers of space technology aimed at low cost access to space, development of heavy lift boosters to launch heavier satellites, realizing high power and high bandwidth communication satellites and remote sensing satellites with all weather capability are some of these challenges. I am confident these challenges will be met and dealt effectively.
I hope that these elements find reflection in the Space Vision that is now being developed for the country upto the year 2025. The Vision should spell out not only our expansion plans but also the new frontiers of technology that we wish to master and cover. We should reflect on how we can more effectively harness space technology for our developmental purposes.
The discovery of the unknown has captured humankind’s attention since time immemorial. The human mind has in particular always been fascinated by the mysteries of outer space. There can therefore be no better platform to nurture and promote this spirit of inquiry than ISRO.
I am delighted to formally inaugurate the Indian Institute of Space Technology in Kerala. I would urge all those connected with the Institute to ensure that it emerges as a great centre of excellence on par with the very best in the world.
I am happy to note that the Institute will be able to cater to half the annual manpower needs of ISRO. It is our collective duty to ensure that we create the necessary conditions to attract the best and the brightest to scientific and technological studies.
I am also very happy to lay the foundation stone of ISRO’s Space Complex in New Delhi. The Complex will go a long way in fulfilling the needs for utilisation of space based services in this part of our country. I do hope that the building will be well designed and that it will set an example in the utilisation of environment friendly technologies. Above all, I hope that it will popularize the study of space all across the country.
I would like to thank the Governments of both Kerala and Delhi particularly Smt. Shiela Dixit for supporting the establishment of these two institutions. In conclusion, I once again congratulate all the recipients of the awards today, including those who are participating from Thiruvananthapuram. I wish the entire ISRO family even greater success in their service to the cause of our nation.”