ISRO to Post Indian Satellite Policy on Antix Website After Devas Dispute

[Satellite TODAY Insider 06-08-11] The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is posting the country’s satellite policy on the website of its commercial arm, Antix, in an effort to provide greater transparency to Indian government space activities, ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan announced June 7.
   “The government-approved satellite policy details how transponders on various Indian satellites would be leased to India’s private and public-sector broadcasters. The policy will be put up on the Antrix website and will be part of the several initiatives to spell out greater transparency in the way we function,” said Radhakrishnan.
    The call for greater transparency at ISRO came after Antrix backed out on a $200 million deal with Devas Multimedia to lease transponders using S-band capacity on the GSAT6 and GSAT6A satellites, which are scheduled for launch in 2013, for multimedia broadcasting.
    Devas argued that ISRO justified backing out of the deal because of “strategic national priorities,” even though the deal was in accordance with India’s existing satellite policy. A committee headed by the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Planning Commission then submitted a report to the Indian Prime Minister’s Office determining whether or not due process had been followed in executing the deal between Antrix and Devas. The report ruled that Antrix did not follow overall policy framework in the way it signed transponder leases with private companies.
    ISRO officials have long argued that Indian satellite policy doesn’t require the organization to auction transponders and that Radhakrishnan has led internal discussions on separating Antrix and ISRO since 2009.

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