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India's gift to SAARC, a satellite announced by Narendra Modi when he took over as Prime Minister will cost around Rs 235 crore.
In June 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked ISRO to develop a SAARC satellite which can be dedicated as a 'gift' to the neighbours. He asked the scientists to work on a satellite that would provide full range of applications and services to all of India's neighbours.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to provide space based systems for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation member nations.
It is proposed to build a satellite for SAARC region with 12 Ku-band transponders and launch using Indian Geostationary Launch Vehicle GSLV Mk-II. This information was given by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh in reply to unstarred question in Rajya Sabha today.
A one-day conference on "Satellite for SAARC Region and Space Technology Applications" was organised by India in New Delhi on June 22, 2015 to appraise and discuss the proposal. Delegations from all the SAARC member nations have participated in the conference.
The Minister said, response of all the SAARC nations to the proposal has been encouraging. "Pakistan, while welcoming the initiative raised some queries on technical and operational aspects. Pakistan desired further discussions before giving its consent".
The total cost of launching the satellite is estimated to be about Rs 235 crore. The cost associated with the launch will be met by Government of India.
The proposed satellite enables full range of applications and services to our neighbors in the areas of telecommunication and broadcasting applications viz. Television, Direct-to-Home (DTH), Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs), Tele-education, Telemedicine and Disaster Management Support.
Earlier the Prime Minister said the satellite should be in Space by December 2016 and such a satellite will be helpful in SAARC nations' fight against poverty and illiteracy, the challenge to progress in scientific field, and will open up avenues to provide opportunities to the youth of SAARC countries, he said adding that such a satellite will be useful for the development of all SAARC nations with India playing a key role in that.
To date, only two SAARC countries - India and Pakistan - have sent satellites in space, but several others are trying to follow.