The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is no longer confined to the launching of satellites under the Modi government and has been constantly expanding its role in development activities as well, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said on Tuesday.
Mr Singh, who is the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, said over four years back, on the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an extensive brain-storming exercise was held in the national capital wherein representatives from different Ministries and Departments were engaged in an interaction with scientists from ISRO and the Department of Space.
The interaction focused on working out how best could the space technology be utilised as a modern tool for supplementing, improving and expediting infrastructural development as well as implementation of various welfare schemes, Mr Singh said.
The Department of Space is directly under the PMO.
"One of the major highlights of the Modi government has been that in the last six years, Indian Space Research Organisation is no longer confined mainly to the launching of satellites, but it has been constantly enlarging its role in development activities, thus contributing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's mission of Transforming India," a statement quoting Mr Singh said.
He briefed about the comparative improvement in the crop condition and increased productivity in the agriculture sector in July 2020, in comparison to the same month last year, because of the extensive use of data from remote sensing satellites. Mr Singh said the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), which is a proven indicator for vegetable/crop health or vigour, clearly shows better crop conditions during July this year than what it was during the same month in 2019.
As for the agriculture sector, Mr Singh informed that the ISRO technology is now also being used to carry out crop production forecast for at least eight major crops including wheat, kharif and rabi rice, mustard, jute, cotton, sugarcane, rabi sorghum and rabi pulses, the statement added.
In the Railway sector, Mr Singh said it was in the recent years that the applications of space technology were realised in guarding unmanned railway crossings, detecting obstructive objects on rail tracks to avoid train accidents and other such activities. Similarly, he said, satellite imaging is now being utilised for supervising Indian borders and to check foreign infiltrations.
ISRO and the Department of Space have already overtaken several other countries in their space endeavours and the images procured by missions like Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) are now being utilised even by premier space centres, he said.