Elections rouse emotions. Especially one where 900 million people will vote to elect their leaders this month. That, to an extent, explains the timing and the ensuing chest-thumping after India demonstrated its ability to destroy targets in space by shooting down one of its own satellites late last month. It, however, doesn’t explain this under-the-radar activity: creating a new public sector company under the Department of Space (DOS), which already owns another public sector company, Antrix Corporation Ltd. Created 26 years ago, Antrix has since been the commercial arm of ISRO, selling its technologies and services.

On 19 February, a 9:30PM Press Information Bureau release said that the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved setting up of a new company, “to commercially exploit the research and development work carried out by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Centers and constituent units of DOS.”

Conspicuously, the news went unreported.

AUTHOR

Seema Singh

Seema has over two decades of experience in journalism. Before starting The Ken, Seema wrote “Myth Breaker: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and the Story of Indian Biotech”, published by HarperCollins in May 2016. Prior to that, she was a senior editor and bureau chief for Bangalore with Forbes India, and before that she wrote for Mint. Seema has written for numerous international publications like IEEE-Spectrum, New Scientist, Cell and Newsweek. Seema is a Knight Science Journalism Fellow from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a MacArthur Foundation Research Grantee.

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