P. Sunderarajan

NEW DELHI: Even as the Indian Space Research Organisation is getting ready for the launch of its maiden mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-1, the Cabinet gave approval for the second mission at a cost of Rs. 425 crore.

Chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the meeting on Thursday also gave its nod for the establishment of an autonomous Institute of Nano Science and Technology at Mohali near Chandigarh at a cost of Rs. 142 crore. It would cover all aspects of the emerging area of nanoscience and technology, from basic research and commercialisation of new technologies to human resource development. During the initial period, it would focus on nano bio-pharma, food and agriculture, and nanometeorology.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its approval for a Rs. 820-crore programme for providing scholarships under the Ministry of Science and Technology’s Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research scheme.

To be implemented from this financial year, the programme aims at attracting talented youth to science-intensive programmes by providing scholarships and mentoring through summer attachments to researchers working in scientific institutions.

The CCEA also gave its nod for another scheme of scholarship for college and university students at a cost of Rs. 1,000 crore during the 11th Plan period, and for renewing scholarship for national scholarship holders under the earlier scheme till the completion of their courses. The scheme is designed to help meritorious students belonging to poorer sections meet day-to-day expenses.