Of late ISRO is abuzz with a lot of rumours regarding the impending extension of the present Chairman and the succession plan in case the Union Government decides on a change of guard. If one goes by media reports, there appears to be a sinister plan to sabotage both merit and seniority by killing two birds with one stone.
As it is, ISRO is reeling under massive budget cuts with major missions on hold, transfer of all government assets to the newly formed NSIL leading to a dwindling revenue receipts of the Department of Space (DoS), along with dwindling morale, every attempt is being made to scuttle seniority and merit. First, the senior most scientist, Tapan Misra was denied apex scale. Then the next senior most, Somnath was not accommodated in the Space Commission. The third senior most Kunnhikrishnan, who neither has seniority nor any great accomplishment, was given apex scale and moved to the Space Commission. Now an attempt is being made to get Dr Sivan, Secretary DoS and Chairman ISRO, an extension and to bring Kunhikrishnan to Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (INSPACe) and later make him the Chairman. This will lead to large scale demoralisation and exit of senior scientists from ISRO and the government will only have itself to blame if it falls into the trap of what one could even call the scientists’ mafia that appears to have a diabolic hold on the country’s space programme and the departments and centres that run it.
It is for the Government to take its call