September 29, 2009 Vol. 2, Issue 9
India is using its space program to address national needs such as education, health, resource management, and disaster management, making it a leader among developing nations in the use of space-based technologies for achieving development goals.
As one of the developing world’s most dynamic societies, India faces vast disparities between its rural and urban populations, rich and poor, literate and illiterate, and the digitally connected versus the disconnected. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) strives to help bridge those gaps through innovative uses of the nation’s satellite infrastructure.
Edusat, one of nine communications satellites in the India’s INSAT system, is driving a tele-education system called the Edusat Utilization Program. Educational, interactive videos and lectures inform students, teachers, and locals about agriculture, livestock management, healthcare, hygiene, and nutrition through the nation. Since its inception in 2004, Edusat has 44 interactive and non-interactive networks in action.
The communication satellites also provide telemedicine services. Currently, only 2% of India’s qualified doctors are available to attend to 70% of the country’s population living in villages. The telemedicine program significantly increases access to medical care, connecting 195 remote and rural hospitals to 40 specialty hospitals located in larger cities.
ISRO’s remote sensing satellite infrastructure consists of eight Earth-observing satellites, which provide critical information about sustainable development, food security, natural resources, and disaster management.
Over 270 Village Resource Centers across the country offer services enabled by space-based assets, such as telemedicine, tele-education, and information advisories about topics such as farming and resource management. India intends to increase the number of these centers and the quality and quantity of services they can offer.
Read more about Space-based Societal Applications — Relevance in Developing Dountries”.