Teary-eyed director of ISRO getting a hug from the Prime Minister himself – the scene that was trending for a couple of days showed the empathetic side of Narendra Modi. Everyone loved the support that was extended to the scientists despite Chandrayaan2 not becoming a hundred percent success. The mission is being termed as ‘partial success’, except for the fact that ISRO lost communication with moon lander Vikram after rough landing. The whole world, including NASA has been lauding the incredible efforts of the scientists at ISRO.
But! The encouragement doesn’t seem to be converting into anything tangible for the scientists. According to a June 12th order issued by the government, the 1996 motivational and promotional grants have been revoked. The Supreme Court order that was issued almost two decades ago earns the scientists at ISRO a double hike. The order then was given with the intention of encouraging more scientists joining the space program. Even the Sixth Pay Commission recommended that the salaries of scientists should be left untouched.
The recent order resulted in about 90 percent of work force at ISRO losing up to Rs 10,000 per month and was brought into effect on 1st July 2019. The Space Engineers Association (SEA), the union at ISRO says that the scientists are more than demotivated by this move. They appealed to the man who got hugged by the Prime Minister, ISRO Chariman K. Sivan, couple of months ago to write a petition to register their dissent and put pressure on the government to withdraw the same. Let’s hope all the hugs and appreciations ISRO scientists are getting are actually redeemable!