The Department of Space has been allocated Rs 8,936.97 crore in the Union Budget for various space-related projects. It has also been tasked to achieve certain targets - deliver three earth observation, two communication satellites - next fiscal.

The total allocation for the Department of Space for next fiscal is around Rs 10,783 crore (including the Rs 8,936.97 crore) - up from Rs 9,155.52 crore allocated for 2017-18 net of recoveries and receipts. The space department has been tasked to deliver three earth observation space craft ready for launch; four Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) flights; one each of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MkII and Mk III. A sum of Rs 6,576.02 crore has been allocated for this purpose next year, as per the budget papers.

For the purpose of completion and launch of two communication satellites next fiscal a sum of Rs 411.60 crore has been allotted. Under the design and development of applications for earth observation, communication, and disaster-management scheme for which Rs 1,746.25 has been allocated, the Department of Space has to deliver nine earth observation/communications payloads; information support for five disaster events; 8,500 maps to support national missions and users projects and 300,000 value-added products disseminated to users.

A sum of Rs 230.10 crore has been allocated for undertaking space science missions and interplanetary expeditions under which the Department of Space has to deliver: Indian lunar mission/Chandrayaan-II; readiness of two sub-systems for Aditya-L1 mission; 35 publications from space science missions; release of two terabyte of space science-related data to public utilization; 250 research projects in academia supported through Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) programs.

The medium term tasked outcome for Department of Space are - augmentation of space infrastructure for providing continuity of earth observation services with improved capabilities; ensuring operational launch services for domestic and commercial satellites; self-sufficiency in launching four ton class of communication satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit; self-sufficiency in launching 2.5- 3 ton class of communication satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.

The Department of Space has to develop an indigenous capability for design and development of space infrastructure for the better understanding of the universe. According to the Economic Survey, the country's share in the global satellite launch services revenue went up to 1.1 per cent in 2015-16 from 0.3 per cent in 2014-15. Antrix Corporation - the commercial arm of ISRO - foresees greater utilisation of rockets like PSLV, GSLV-MkII and GSLV MkIII by the international community for launching their Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites.

In the case of satellite launching, as on March 2017, PSLV successfully launched 254 satellites. Foreign exchange earnings of India from the export of satellite launch services increased noticeably in 2015-16 and 2016-17 to Rs 394 crore and Rs 275 crore from Rs 149 crore in 2014-15.

In a recent, ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said India will be using its own rockets for launching communication satellites and reduce the use of satellite launch services of foreign space agencies. This, in turn, would reduce the outgo of foreign exchange. – Hans India