Two-day Global Conclave EDGE 2020 Inaugurated 

The Kerala government is planning to build a world-class space technology ecosystem in the capital city, said state Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. “By collaborating with ISRO and all the space organisations in the state and country, we would like to build a world-class space technology ecosystem so that city of God’s Own Country will be known as the space city of India,” the Chief Minister remarked.

Vijayan was speaking while inaugurating the two-day international conclave on Space Technology, EDGE 2020, organised by India’s first Space Park under Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited (KSITIL) with the backing of industry and domain leaders, including Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), on Friday.

“New Space—Opportunities and way forward” is the theme of the event, which is being held at Raviz Beach Resort, Kovalam in Thiruvananthapuram.

“Space technology is chosen as a key focus industry vertical for us. Presence of nearly 45 per cent scientific pool of ISRO and the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology(IIST), which has deemed university status and country’s only space and science technology institution, makes the capital quite a unique place for growth of the space-tech ecosystem here,” Vijayan explained.

“We are also committed to invest in Industry 4.0 technologies like Blockchain, Fintech, medical technologies, cyber security for financial services, augmented reality/virtual reality and space technology,” he added.

In his keynote address, Dr Arabinda Mitra, Scientific Secretary, Office of Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to the Government of India, said the global space industry is looking to India due to the cost-effective and innovative initiatives of ISRO. “India’s economy is highly dependent on its space resources, which needs to be utilised for optimal benefit. Besides, private sector partnership and investment are the need of the hour to leverage the investment,” he said.

“We have launched an initiative called Agni, which is for accelerating growth innovation enabling mechanism for R&D labs to connect startups to industry and industry to academic institutions. Another initiative,City Knowledge and Innovation Cluster is targeting cities and smaller tier-2 cities. We have launched this in four mega city cluster and are planning in six to eight more cities in future. We are also happy to extend this to Kerala,” Mitra added. 

M. Sivasankar, Secretary to CM, and Principal Secretary, Electronics and IT Dept., Kerala, who welcomed the gathering, said the presence of a vibrant startup ecosystem is a big plus for the State to make a mark in space technology. 

HE Catherine Suard, Consul General of France; Rashed Khamis Al Shemeili, Charge d’affaires of Consulate General of UAE; Sarah Fallon, Head of Science and Innovation, British High Commission; Roy. M. Cheriyan, Deputy Director, VSSC; and MC Dathan, Scientific Advisor to Chief Minister, Govt. of Kerala, were also present.

Santhosh Kurup, Special Officer, Space Park, proposed the vote of thanks. On the occasion, an MoU was signed between, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and Space Park. 

The two-day international conclave will set the ground for Kerala’s Space Park to take off as a global space industry hub, starting with some significant tie-ups with leading organisations.

The meet will see the convergence of top experts, industry leaders and envoys to deliberate on the immense possibilities thrown up by the profound changes propelled by new technologies.

By Manoj

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