With the Indian space agency's focus shifting to research and development (R&D), a committee has been set up to recommend the methodology for right-sizing and optimal utilisation of the existing science and technology (S&T) manpower, as per Union Science and Technology Minister Dr Jitendra Singh.
In response to a question in the Lok Sabha, Singh denied any ban on recruitment of scientific talent in the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and said a departmental committee has been constituted to recommend methodology for right-sizing and optimal utilisation of the current S&T talent pool.
He said the other terms of reference of the committee are: "Assessment of future manpower requirement in all categories of S&T and any other recommendations which may be appropriate to view of renewed mandate of ISRO."
Singh said the committee's deliberations are in progress and recommendations have not yet arrived.
"Detailed assessment of requirements for future activities is under progress in coordination with Centres/Units of ISRO," he said.
He said with the space sector reforms being implemented, greater emphasis is being laid on R&D activities, technology demonstration missions, science and exploration missions, missions of national importance, human space programme and strategic missions realisation by the ISRO.
Once the assessment is complete, recruitments will be made ensuring right personnel are hired, suiting the job requirements, he added.
According to Singh, as part of government's space sector reform measures, the ISRO will carry out capacity building in the space domain, through development of new technologies and enable sharing of facilities by NewSpace India Ltd and non-government private entities.
Singh said that the NewSpace India will take ownership of operational launch vehicles/rockets, commercialise launches, satellites and services. It will act as an aggregator of user requirements and obtain commitments.
The Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) will permit the private sector players to carry out space activities, he added.
ISRO Staff Association General Secretary G.R. Pramod had told IANS that there is "uncertainty all around about the future of about 17,300 employees of ISRO".
"The ISRO top management should come out openly and address the employee concerns at the earliest," he demanded.
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