Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, an Indian space scientist who headed the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) from 1994 to 2003, will now reportedly head a panel on National Education Policy. Currently, Kasturirangan is the former chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University and the chairman of Karnataka Knowledge Commission, and a PTI report said that he will head a 9-member panel on NPE. Kasturirangan is a former member of the Rajya Sabha (2003–09) and a former member of the now-defunct Planning Commission of India. He has received all the three major civilian awards from the Government of India: the Padma Shri (1982), Padma Bhushan (1992) and Padma Vibhushan (2000).
Kasturirangan, born in Ernakulam, Kerala was responsible for directing the Indian Space programme for over 9 years, as Chairman of ISRO and the Space Commission and as Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Space, before laying down office on 27 August 2003. He was earlier the Director of ISRO Satellite Centre, overseeing the development of new generation spacecraft, the Indian National Satellite (INSAT-2) and the Indian Remote SensingSatellites (IRS-1A and 1B). He was also the Project Director for India’s first two experimental earth observation satellites, Bhaskara-I and II. Under his leadership, the programme witnessed several major milestones including the successful launching and operationalisation of India’s prestigious launch vehicles, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).
He also led the initiative for India to enter the planetary exploration era by extensive studies leading to the definition of Chandrayaan-I. These efforts have put India as a pre-eminent space-faring nation among the handful of six countries that have major space programmes. Kasturirangan is a member of several important scientific academies, both within India and abroad. He is presently the President of the Indian Academy of Sciences at Bangalore and General President of the Indian Science Congress.
Recently in March 207, after several years of discussions, the government had notified nearly 57,000 square km area in the Western Ghats region as ecologically sensitive area, based on a report by a committee headed by K Kasturirangan. These areas had all kinds of mining activities, large constructions, thermal power plants and highly polluting industries would no longer be allowed. This land was spread over six states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.