India's Modi announces manned space mission, health care scheme for millions

Mindy Sparks
August 16, 2018

Mr Modi also assured Muslim women of all efforts to stop Triple Talaq.

India has had a space program since the 1960s and sent scores of satellites into space. PM Modi added that an Indian will be sent in space via an indigenous spacecraft.

On Jammu & Kashmir, where the BJP pulled out of the PDP-led government in June this year, leading to its fall, Modi said his administration did not believe in "goli or gaali (bullets and abuses)", but in "hugging" people of Kashmir and taking them along, reiterating a statement also made in last year's address.

If successful, India would be the fourth nation to achieve that feat.

"All the critical technologies for the human space mission are being developed".

India won independence from British colonialists in 1947.

Speaking from the ramparts of the historic red fort in New Delhi, Modi said it was a "dream" for the country to send a citizen to space before it celebrates 75 years of independence.

Stepping up its rivalry with China, India has invested heavily in its space programme over the course of the last decade.

The chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) confirmed the timeline and said the pilots and crew, often called vyomanauts - after vyom, the Sanskrit word for space - would spend at least seven days in space.

K Radhakrishnan, former ISRO chairman under whose leadership the Mangalyaan mission was launched in 2013, termed the announcement of Gaganyaan mission a "turning point" for ISRO.

Earlier this year, the Indian space agency made a the record by launching 104 satellites into orbit at the same time using only one rocket, our sister site ZDNet reported. The satellite, later rechristened South Asian satellite, was launched in May 2017.

An unmanned mission to the moon that ended in 2009 showed water formation there may be occurring.

"We estimate that the human space mission will generate about 15,000 jobs over the next few years", Sivan told IANS here.

It is now set for launch in January 2019.

Modi said his government would launch from September 25 a previously announced medical insurance scheme, dubbed "Modicare", to give about 500 million poor people annual health cover of 500,000 rupees ($7,200) to treat serious illness.

So far as astronaut training goes, Sivan said that the resources at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM) in Bengaluru will be used, while a senior DoS official said that India is also looking at foreign collaboration.

The prime minister said that India was seen as one of the "fragile" nations before his nationalist party took power in a landslide in 2014.

Modi is seeking to spend more on the countryside - home to about 68 per cent of India's 1.3 billion people and a key voting bloc in the world's largest democracy - as he prepares to face general elections in eight months.

Modi hailed India's growing role in the world economy, calling it a "sleeping elephant" that has woken up.

He said the structural reforms like a national tax replacing various state and local taxes, bankruptcy and insolvency laws, and a crackdown on corruption have helped transform the economy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day Speech today highlighted his government's achievements in the past four years.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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