The government on Tuesday approved a one time grant-in aid of Rs. 378 crore as budgetary support for implementation of GPS-aided Geo Augmented Navigation system (GAGAN).

The GAGAN system, estimated to cost Rs. 774 crore, would make the skies from South-East Asia to Africa, including Indian airspace, much safer.

The prestigious project, being developed jointly by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), would place India in the fourth position along with the U.S., Europe and Japan to have such an advanced navigation system.

“The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved a one-time grant-in-aid of Rs. 378 crore from the Government Budgetary Support (GBS) for implementation of the GAGAN project,” an official release said. The project was expected to be ready for operational use by May, 2013, it said.

It would be an all-weather national infrastructure and can be used by defence services, security agencies, railways, surface transport, shipping, telecom industry besides personal users of position-based services.

It will provide precision approach to all aircraft either landing at Indian airports or overflying the airspace, even over the high seas. The system will offer seamless satellite navigation to air traffic across the Indian Ocean region.

As much as Rs. 171 crore will be provided for the project for the current year, while for the next year, appropriate provisions will be made for the balance amount, the statement said.

Of the total project cost, the AAI is required to shell out Rs. 604 crore, while the ISRO is to contribute rest (Rs. 170 crore).

The AAI has already spent Rs. 226 crore and sought a one-time grant-in-aid of Rs. 378 crore from the Gross Budgetary Support to meet its balance commitment, the statement said.

After completion of its final operational phase, the GAGAN will be compatible with other Space Based Augmentation Systems like the Wide Area Augmentation System of the U.S., the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service and the multi-functional Satellite Augmentation System of Japan.

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