Indian Mars mission by 2013, says ISRO:
Indian Space research Organisation (ISRO) chairman G. Madavan Nair
said on Monday that India would launch a mission to Mars by 2013.
"We have given a call for proposal to different scientific
communities. Depending on the type of experiments they propose, we
will be able to plan the mission," he informed the media ....
Delhi: India has put off until 2022, from the targeted
2020, its plan to produce 20,000 MW from solar power, even as it
postponed Saturday the launch of the country’s ambitious solar
key financing strategy in the plan has also been dropped, according
to a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change, after
the ministries of coal and power opposed a proposal to levy a cess
of four paise a tonne of coal mined for research and development on
his Independence Day speech this year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
had promised that the solar energy mission would be launched Nov 14.
But an official spokesman said Friday night: “The mission will be
launched as soon as the approval of the government to the
recommendations has been obtained, which is expected shortly.”
was referring to recommendations by members of the PM’s council when
it met Oct 26 to approve the solar energy mission.
recommendations of the mission have been finalised and an
implementation plan has been formulated after a series of
consultations within government as well as other stakeholders,” the
Bureaucrats are now talking of Nov 19 as a probable launch date for
the mission, whose highlight is to increase hundredfold the current
output of 200 MW through solar energy.
major changes have been made since the last draft of the mission
document was made public, members of the council said on condition
of anonymity. One was to push back the target date for generating
20,000 MW a year from solar power to 2022 from 2020, to bring it in
line with India’s five-year plan cycle.
important, the section on putting a cess on coal used for power
generation in order to fund the solar mission has been dropped, more
than one member of the council told IANS. “Without this, how are we
going to finance this mission?” one of them wondered.
main bottleneck in spreading solar energy today is cost. While it
costs Rs.3-4 to generate one unit of electricity from coal, it costs
Rs.14 to do so from solar photovoltaic cells. If various subsidies
given to the coal industry now are removed, the cost will go up to
Rs.5-6, still well below the cost from solar power.
does not take into account the other costs of using coal —
respiratory diseases caused by pollutants released when coal is
mined and then burnt, the destruction of soil associated with the
mining, the effects of climate change caused by coal burning in
terms of reduced farm output and more frequent and more severe
droughts, floods and storms.
While there is no official calculation of these costs, an
environmental economist has estimated them to total Rs.4 per unit.
That would bring the real cost of producing electricity from coal to
Rs.9-10 per unit, still below the cost of doing so from solar power.
solar power technology has been improving rapidly. Till a few years
ago, it cost Rs.27 to produce one unit of electricity from solar
While the renewable energy industry is excited about the mission, it
is not happy with the planning process.
are being asked to increase solar energy production hundredfold in
the next 13 years, from 200 MW to 20,000 MW by 2022, but we have not
been consulted on how it is to be done,” a senior executive of a
firm making solar photovoltaic cells told IANS.
Joydeep Gupta can be contacted at