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Budget allocation for Indian space programme pegged at Rs 12,544 crore

NEW DELHI (PTI): Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday allocated nearly Rs 12,544 crore to the Department of Space as India plans a human spaceflight – Gaganyaan – next year and sets out to explore the Moon and neighbouring planets.

The allocation is about 8 per cent lower than the Budget Estimate of Rs 13,700 crore for 2022-23, which was slashed to Rs 10,530.04 crore in the Revised Estimate.

The largest chunk of the allocation – to the tune of Rs 11,669.41 crore – has gone to central sector schemes or projects such as the human spaceflight centre and various institutions of the department that deal with launch vehicle and satellite projects, including developmental and operational initiatives.

Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-Space), the government's single-window body to deal with the private sector, received Rs 95 crore allocation against Rs 21 crore in the Revised Estimate.

A large portion of the allocation, Rs 53 crore, has been earmarked for capital expenditure for INSPACe.

Ahmedabad-based Physical Research Laboratory, which carries out basic research in several areas of experimental and theoretical physics and also builds instruments for science missions, has received an allocation of Rs 408.69 crore against the Revised Estimate of Rs 411.11 crore in the last fiscal.

ISRO plans to launch Chandrayaan-3, India's third lunar mission, in July 2023 using the Launch Vehicle Mark-3.

Originally planned to launch in December 2021, India's first human space flight – Gaganyaan – has now been put off till the fourth quarter of 2024. However, ISRO plans to carry out uncrewed flights for the project this year.

ISRO has also lined up science missions to the Sun, Venus and Mars.

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