No quality brain power in ISRO: Madhavan Nair

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Bangalore, Nov 4: In spite of host of successes, with Chandrayaan-1 moon arbiter capping them all, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) continues to face shortage of quality scientific brains, ISRO Chairman Madhavan Nair said.

In a chat with agency reporters here, he said its Space Institute at Thiruvananthapuram is hoping to bring the much needed solace. Even now the government-owned organisation was finding it difficult to get quality brain power. ''We have to make the remuneration more attractive for scientists, engineers and others. It is an uphill task as we cannot ask something different than that of what other Central Government employees get,'' he said.

ISRO's own Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) would provide the solution. ''Our institute is doing extremely well and it has completed the first year. The second batch has just joined,'' Mr Nair said.

But the only concern of the soft-spoken Space Organisation Chief had been the campus building. At present the institute runs at the ISRO facility in the Kerala capital.

''Finally the Kerala government has allotted some land. We want to make sure that from next academic year the institute will have its own campus,'' he said.

The IIST offers engineering courses in Space Science at a very modest fees but students would have to work in the organisation for certain period. If not, they would have to pay the fee at par with IITs.

Mr Nair said scientists cannot term it as 'raw deal,' after the moderate rise in their salaries as per the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations. ''It is not a raw deal. There is a slight improvement in remuneration. We (scientists) are actually better off than industries when the entry level salaries are compared,'' he said.

He, however, agreed that the salary growth had not been the same when compared with the industry.

''You see the highest salary in the government is Rs six lakh.

We have to work out a method where we can add the growth rate also.

In that case I think we will be having some verification soon,'' he said.

Still there were quite a good number of enthusiasts who are joining ISRO. This, year the results had been reasonably good, Mr Nair said.

The ISRO Chief said the Rs 4,000 crore budget for the organisation in the current year's budget has been satisfactory.

''Infact even in most difficult times the government has been considerate to us. Last year there was a raise of 25 per cent in budgetary allocations. It is satisfactory,'' he added.

Chandrayaan-1 Project Director M Annadorai, however, is really upbeat after the stupendous success of the country's first moon mission.

He said the success had resulted in triggering a reverse brain drain in space technology, with people from NASA nowing want to return home.

''The reverse brain drain will happen now. Some of those who went to work in NASA and European Space Agency, have been personally in touch with me inquiring about openings in ISRO,'' he said.

According to him, even some of the foreign space scientists were interested to work in ISRO's future missions.

''Earlier, ISRO was getting 50 per cent of its instruments done abroad. Now you can see the reverse in this trend. Developed countries in the West now want to become co-passengers in our missions, '' Mr Annadorai added.


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