The Union Minister of State, Atomic Energy & Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh has said that one of the major highlights of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been that in the last six years, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is no longer confined mainly to the launching of satellites. The Indian space agency has been constantly enlarging its role to play an important part in development activities, thereby contributing to the prime minister’s mission of “Transforming India”.
The extensive use of data from remote sensing satellites had resulted in improvement in the crop condition and increased productivity in the agriculture sector in the month of July 2019 vis a vis the month of July 2020, he told a briefing in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Dr. Singh said that the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), which is a proven indicator for vegetable, crop health or vigour, clearly showed better crop conditions during the month of July this year than what it was during the same month in the last year.
Dr. Singh recalled that over four years ago on the intervention of Prime Minister Modi, an extensive brain-storming exercise was held in the union capital wherein representatives from different ministries and departments were engaged in intense interaction with scientists from ISRO and the Department of Space to maximise the potential of space technology as a modern tool for supplementing, improving and expediting infrastructure development as well as the implementation of various welfare schemes. Since then, space technology was being used in diverse sectors including agriculture, railways, roads and bridges, medical management and telemedicine, procurement of timely utilisation certificates, and weather and disaster forecasting and management.
As for the agriculture sector, Dr. Singh informed that the ISRO technology was 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.
In the railway sector, for example, Dr. said, it was in recent years that the applications of space technology were realised in guarding the unmanned railway crossings, detecting obstructive objects on rail tracks to avoid train accidents and other such activities. Similarly, he said, satellite imaging was now being utilised for supervising the country’s international borders and check foreign infiltration.
While ISRO and the Department of Space have already overtaken several other countries in their space missions and the images procured by missions like Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) etc., were now being used even by the premier space centres in the infrastructural development and public welfare projects. India had also taken a lead in the application of space technology and its example was being followed by other countries of the world.
Under Prime Minister Modi the country was on the verge of emerging as a frontline nation of the world and this journey was being heralded by India’s space technology and its dedicated scientific fraternity said, Dr. Singh.