A discussion in the Lok Sabha on September 21 to congratulate the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), space scientists and members of the scientific community for the success of Chandrayaan-3 mission also witnessed members of the Treasury and the Opposition benches claim credit for India’s space success.
Union Ministers and BJP MPs asserted that the nation’s space story has seen a quantum leap during the Narendra Modi government, while the Opposition members recalled the contribution of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in laying the foundation of the country’s scientific progress.
Speaking during the debate, Union Minister Jitendra Singh informed the House that ISRO scientists are eagerly waiting for the Vikram lander and the Pragyan rover of Chandrayaan-3 to wake up from their 14-day sleep during the lunar night. After conducting experiments on the south pole of the moon from August 23 to September 4, the rover and lander modules of Chandrayaan-3 were put to sleep in a bid to survive the extremely frigid atmosphere.
Before the start of the discussion, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla noted that India is moving towards becoming a major space power.
‘Quota Bill a gift’
Initiating the discussion on the success of Chandrayaan-3 mission and other achievements of the nation in the space sector, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the passage of the women’s reservation Bill “is a gift by a grateful nation to the women scientists of ISRO and the entire female scientific community of India”.
He pointed out that of the 424 foreign satellites launched by India so far, 389 were launched in the past nine years of the Modi government.
Calling the landing on the moon a watershed moment, Congress member Shashi Tharoor said it was the culmination of the efforts put in by all governments over the past six decades, starting from the days of Pandit Nehru. His comments that 20% of women personnel in the ISRO did not need reservation in the field of science and technology was objected to by Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Anupriya Patel.
The Congress’ ally from Kerala and Indian Union Muslim League MP Abdussamad Samadani said, “When we think of the space missions of the country, we have to remember two luminaries...stalwarts – [Isaac] Newton and Nehru”.
“The Opposition indulged in ‘Nehru bhajan’ since morning instead of ISRO bhajan,” retorted BJP’s Tejasvi Surya.