Articles

Space Law

Y.S.RAJAN

 

 INTRODUCTION

For most Indians, most of the legal fraternity not excluded, ‘Space’ is still a place of adventure and curiosity and awesome actions by very brainy people (“rocket scientists!). Even the fact that applications of space technology have penetrated day to day life through satellite communications, meteological services, global positioning systems providing navigational aids to aircraft and other transportation systems, is not well understood. Much less knowledge is about the extent of penetration of critical space dependent tools and systems in modern warfare (defence!).

Most of the Indian legal systems have been concentrating on items related to politics and economics : about civil rights, governance, property rights etc . About science, the legal systems did not address much. Some issue related to medical fields and environmental issues have been addressed, but more as part of the governance issues. Of course, a large amount of forensic science have been a part of legal system. Slowly and steadily scientific advances have been accepted, such as DNA tests.

The recent developments regarding World Trade Organisation (WTO) have brought to the fore Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in which applications and use of science and technology are going to play a major part. IPR is not merely like the usual property rights or even like industrial or business contracts. Most IPR’s are generated at the cutting edge (some even use the word bleeding edge) of science and technology. To deal with IPR cases the legal community have to come very close to domain knowledge of many sciences and technologies. They may have to operate with multidisciplinary sciences and the interfaces between many fields.

 

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Former Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Technical University and currently, Principal Adviser, Confederation of Indian Industry. (email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Thus there is no escape from science and technology for any field of activity in the 21st century. That brings to my mind a famous speech by Jawaharlal Nehru during 1937 at the Indian Science Congress. He said that he was mainly in politics; politics brought him closer to people; and their poverty; therefore he turned his attention to economics; the more he learned economics he realized that it was science (to be understood in the broadest sense not just basic and fundamental research), which held the key to economics and therefore to solve the problems of poverty.

Therefore he declared that “future belongs to those who make friends with science”.

It was a remarkable vision at 1937.

Today, in the 21st century there is science…..science…….technology all over…with increasing speed……It was in 1940’s penicillin came out as a   great saviour for humanity…….also led to increase of world population and many other attendant problems!

Various branches of science biotechnology (BT) and information technology (IT) have entered into many aspects of human life. The earlier professions like Agriculture are being impacted by BT.

Similarly IT (space technology has also impacted and helped IT) has impacted humanity to great extent – also its individuality, privacy and community feeling. Cultures are being impacted by Information & Communication Technology (ICT).

Now coming to some other topic, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) became much more dangerous (than the mere aircraft drops at Hiroshima and Nagasaki) with the advent of precision missiles (space technology).

October 1957 was a great historic event when human – made satellite Sputnik launched by the then USSR, became a part of the solar planetary system.

It was an outcome of cold war politics (though there was something called International Geophysical Year observed by the scientists all over the world, which was also a motivating factor; it was meant to understand more about Earth and its enveloping atmosphere and Cosmos).

It was almost like the Gayatri Mantra “ Bhur Bhuvaha Swah”.

Space is something where politics, economics, science and security merge.

The questions of sovereignty are raised. To whom does space belong. We know the property rights in Earth (hopefully – still in Artic, Antartic and highseas we don’t know yet as future actors will set the pace  - not the existing understandings!)

But what about Moon, Mars…..asteroids, ….in the intermediary space… the whole of space from the earth to Universe?

Human heritage?

It is a romantic word!

What does that mean in legal terms?

What about taking the fights and property rights from the Earth to the Space?

What is the definition of Space? We seem to have defined the Air Space. But Space? What is it delimitation?

Though many of the Indian legal community may not be aware of it, a number of legal treaties and frameworks have been brought out for Space.

Naturally many of these treaties and frameworks on Space were evolved at a time when Cold War was in full action. In a way progress in Space Science, Technology and Applications, took place in response to the compulsions of Cold War. Soviet first in Space (1957) and first Manned Mission (1962). Then the race was we should be something first – that is how the first human landing on Moon took place with American Mission.

Simultaneously stock piling of nuclear weapons and the accurate delivery systems to the desired targets through missiles were also being developed.

The Viet Nam War helped in testing Space Communication systems for operational military uses.

The origin of most of the space treaties and resolutions had this background.

The remote sensing or earth / ocean/ air surveillance capabilities which have many peaceful applications for natural resources management (for soil monitoring, water resources assessment, forest surveys, geological resources management, urban growth monitoring etc.) have military applications as well- for assessing “enemy’s” actions and also as confidence building measures between the cold warring nations.

Thus space laws have multiple dimensions of -

-Sovereignty: to whom Space belongs.

-Concepts of human heritage.

-Regulations of Space communications

-Regulations of Remote Sensing

-Concern of use of Space for Weapons of mass destruction

-Question of liability of space launches and damage due to the debris.

-Desire to spread the beneficial uses of space technology for all the nations.

and such issues.

The collapse of Cold War, the increasing commercialisation of Space and also increasing use of Space for military uses and the resultant Space Security considerations have led to new dimensions for regulating space activities.

The ability of space based systems to help in forewarning disasters and assist during disaster relief operations have added another dimension of expectations from Space systems owning nations to help others.

Possible economic (and military) uses of planetary systems are throwing open new questions of regulation in Space.

Lastly the actions by private sector operations, which is bound to occur due to increasing commercialisation of Space, raise further questions of liability and the role of States in such liability.

Thus Space law is something which cannot be ignored as that of “rocket scientist” or of “Government’s action”. It is something which the civil society has to learn, to understand, and to participate.

It is with this in mind, I am briefly giving some salient points.

I myself had shared the excitement of evolution of Space law since 1974 to 1988 being an active member and leader of Indian delegation to the Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COUPOUS) of UN, which shaped many of the existing laws. Let us look at some of the laws.

TREATIES, CONVENTIONS & AGREEMENTS

The international legal agreements, conventions and treaties are deliberated in the Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPOUS) created in 1959 to address matters of international concern in relation of outer space. It has two sub- Committees under it: Scientific sub – Committee and Legal sub – Committee. While general approach to many legal principles are discussed in the Scientific sub Committee to understand the (fastly changing) progress of science, technology and applications, it is the task of Legal sub – Committee to draft specific legal instruments. Then it is brought to Main Committee that COUPOUS. These two sub-Committees and COUPOUS work on the principle of consensus. The report of the COUPUOS is recommended to the UN General Assembly (UNGA). Each of these legal instruments take several years of discussion (as COUPUOS and the two sub-Committee meet every year work for about two weeks).

The UNGA has adopted five multilateral treaties on space. Though these are adopted by UNGA, then there is question of signature by the States and final ratification. The five multilateral treaties adopted by UNGA are :

Ø  the 1967 Treaty on Principle Government the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (the “Outer Space Treaty”).

Ø the 1968 Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space (the “Rescue Agreement”).

Ø the 1972 Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects (the “Liability Convention”).

Øthe 1976 Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space (the “Registration Convention”) and

Øthe 1979 Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (the “Moon Agreement”).

Outer Space Treaty has been ratified by more than 120 countries.

Other have been ratified only by a smaller number.

It does not mean that other treaties have no legal consequence for the Space activities. To illustrate a few examples :

® The Rescue agreement provides the launching States with the right to demand the return of space objects launch vehicles or part of space objects or components which have returned to the Earth though they may have fallen in other country’s territory. Upto now there has been major opportunity to “test” this right since countries have been by and large cooperative. Remember the major alert (and panic!) regarding the reentry of Skylab, a big US satellite, many years ago.

®Similarly Registration Convention has been adhered to by all countries which launch satellites and space objects if not fully to the spirit but definitely to the letter though a few objects are not reported. Countries (States) provide information to the Secretary – General of UN for inclusion in UN Register of Space Objects. (Even military satellite are generally reported though details on application or other technical details may be sparse!).

®The Moon Agreement which has been ratified by only a few countries, however provides for the rights and duties of States in conducting activities on Moon and other celestial bodies. However there are varying interpretations of these rights. (Note that India soon be exploring Moon through Chandrayayam-I in 2007; may even send down an instrument to land on the Moon).

In addition to these treaties etc there is also a Resolution regarding Remote-Sensing. With the emerging applications of remote sensing (i.e. taking measurements of earth surface, including taking of pictures in visible, infrared and microwave band, from the satellites moving around the earth) during 1970’s after many years of discussions and negotiations a basic framework was adopted by UNGA in 1986. It is called : “Principal Relating to Remote Sensing of Earth from Space”. UN resolutions have generally the status of being recommendatory in nature and not legally binding as international agreements. These Remote Sensing Principles considered various earlier treaty law and international customary law. Some specific new outcome of these Principles are for example:

o      The Principle recognized that imaging and sensing from Space required no prior consent of the sensed country.

o      At the same time, it also stipulated such remote sensing activities shall not be conducted in a manner detrimental to the legimate rights and interests of State.

o      It also established a guiding principles of non-discriminatory access by the sensed state for data concerning its territory.

It is the adoption of these Principles which paved the way for growth of commercial remote sensing.

In addition to Principle Remote Sensing, activities on satellite communications such as all frequency allocation, geostationary space (slot) allocations, regulations on radiated power levels etc, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) provides for regulatory and executive framework. It is a successful operation and all countries are utilizing its services. The regulatory framework is generated and approved by the member of ITU (States). There have been extremely limited occasions when ITU’s  allocation for satellite sports is challenged by some equatorial countries claiming sovereignty over their Geostationery Space. 

In addition to the above there are a number of multilateral instruments entered into between a large number of States to derive benefits from Space. Examples are INTELSAT, INMARSAT, Intersputnik etc. Some of them have become private companies and some of the have ceased to exist. However these arrangements have created a complex web of legal framework for the use of space applications by many countries (those who possess space capability and even those who do not have).

OUTER SPACE TREATY AND BEYOND

The Outer Space Treaty (OST) may be considered as the “Magna Carta” of the space activities. It was adopted by UNGA in 1967. It spells out a number of fundamental legal principles concerning the activities of States in outer space and on celestial bodies.

Those who were powerful in Space namely USA and then USSR played a large role in shaping the OST. It is a good balance between the concerns of developing countries, pacifists who were worried about nuclearisation of outer space especially in the context of severe nuclear arms race then prevailing on the earth as well as the concern not to block the progress of space technology which had many useful beneficial civilian applications and also a number of military applications (though the latter concern is not mentioned explicitly in the treaty or in the speeches. But the two Space powers took adequate care that their defence capabilities in Space were not undermined).

As of 1 January 2005 about (or more than) 120 states have ratified OST; as a contrast Moon Treaty has been ratified only by about ten States.

The rights given by OST to the States include freedom of access, exploration, use and scientific investigation in outer space and celestial bodies.

The OST imposes international liability for third party damage on States under four categories:

(1)     that launches an object into outer space;

(2)     that procures the launch of an object into outer space;

(3)     from whose territory the object is launched; or

(4)     from whose facility the object is launched

These four States are broadly categorized as the launching States. The State that supplies launch vehicle, the State that procures the launched object usually the satellite, the State whose facility (ownership) is used and the State were the facility is geographically located.

The liabilities are further expanded in the liability convention quoted above.

It may also worth noting that OST places the responsibility for activities for such liability on the States even though a non-State entity from the State is involved.

Since the OST has been adoped about four decades have elapsed. While by and large, OST holds, there are a number of spirited and well argued debates about many uncovered issues.    

Some believe OST covers all issues even now. But others point out inadequacies in the context of several new developments  :

o            Increasing commercialization and entry of many private sector entities who may belong to different States,

o            Possible inequities of liability convention on private sector launching companies versus govt launching companies / organizations

o            Enactment of national laws by individual States such as US placing constraints on the entities in their countries (say USA) seeking launchers while US etc companies themselves enjoy privileges of open competition for launching opportunities from outside.

o            Also various forms of technology controls on space systems by a group of countries on others under the context of missile technology regulation.

o            Increasing use of Space for civilian and military applications leading to serious space security considerations

o            Entry of private sectors actors in development of new launchers etc.

Planetary explorations are continuing including landings of instruments on Moon, Mars. Some powerful countries are not yet ratifying the Moon Treaty which was arrived through consensus while formulation and adoption in UNGA. These raise some doubts about the intentions of these countries in terms of utilization of Moon and celestial bodies for economic and strategic purposes.

If the rationale behind protection of IPR for many technologies including the pharma and health fields is that the inventor who has spent considerable amount of effort and money is not protected for his/ her invention, then there will be no progress, and hence the 20years of legally protected enablement is done for the person to make fully commercial exploitation. This is the dominant approach to technology protection prevalent today.

Measured in this context Space research and technology is much more costly, risky. How can a pioneer leave away his / her rights as a “common human heritage”? Hence there are many legal experts questioning the operational validity of common heritage.

I would particularly recommend to the interested reader to read a set of papers from: IISL Space Law Conference 2005 “Bringing Space Benefits To The Asian Region” (In Conjunction with IAA Asia- Pacific Regional Conference “Advances in Planetary Exploration”) Volume of Papers, June 26-29,2005, Bangalore; Organised by Astronautical Society of India (ASI), Bangalore, International Institute of Space Law (IISL), France.

I am also listing at the end of this paper a few references from that volume and a few other areas.

Similarly remote sensing principles are also argued to be considerably inadequate in the context of commercialization of remote sensing, and a rapid growth of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) unforeseen during 1980’s when the Principles were negotiated and adopted.

There are many interesting studies on this by the International Law Association: (Please visit their website: www.ila-hq.org).

Another important legal development is the enactment of various National Laws by USA, Russia and a few others which though not in direct contradiction with OST or such principles quoted above, but take the legal questions in a totally different direction due to their own considerations of their national interest in space commercialization and national security as assisted by Space systems. This paper is too short to cover these aspects.

We will thus cover one important aspect, namely Space Security. This is a serious subject under study and discussion now. Leading work done under the aegis of McGill University may be referred for a beginner. Reference about this subject is given in the end. A few salient points are given in from the document Space Security 2004 – space security.org.

SPACE SECURITY

Space Security is defined in the above document a “secure and sustainable access to and use of space and freedom from space based threats”.

The document defines in its Introduction the context of attention on Space Security :

“Under the Outer Space Treaty, space is open to everyone and belonging to no one. Space is also a global commons that borders every community on Earth and secure access to and use of space has been critical to its development as a new center of strategic social, economic, and military power. Space has also become a critical part of our national and international infrastructure; it supports our medical systems, our public services our communications systems, our financial institutions, and our militaries. Indeed, today it is difficult to imagine our societies and economies functioning without the support of space-based assets. However, the dynamics of space security remain poorly understood. Space is uniquely fragile as an environment and the resources of Earth’s orbital space are limited. It is not clear how we can best balance today’s competing civil, commercial, and military interests against the need for sustainable uses of space that will ensure its utility for future generations”.

Thus Space Law acquires new dimensions: it is a complex inter play of politics (perceptions of sovereignty, national interest), economics, commerce, trade, science, technology, security, adventure (of explorations) and humanitarian concerns (like saving the astronauts, helping at the times of disasters etc).

The documents address several issues like space environment, space utilities, commercial space, space support for terrestrial military operations, space system protection, negation and space based strike weapons.

I would give a glimpse of space security related laws from the above quoted document.

Naturally the OST (1967), Astronaut Rescue Agreement (1968), Liability Convention (1972), Registration Convention (1975), Moon Agreement (1979) stand on top. As we have pointed out before these come from UNGA through COUPOUS. By convention COUPOUS has addressed only the civilian uses of space. There is another mechanism created by UN, called the UN conference on Disarmament (UNCD) addresses military space challenges with a  focus on the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

There are also competitive interpretation of the word “peaceful purposes”. A predominant view is non-aggressive purposes. In this view military applications like military communications, surveillance, navigation etc are considered peaceful.

Accordingly as of now the space assets of the States have been used extensively to support terrestrial military operations (including support for the launch of missiles, precision targeting etc). However the space actors have stopped short of actually deploying weapons in Space. Narrow legal interpretation of OST can mean to prohibit only Weapons of Mass Destruction. In any case space actors have been self-restrained in terms of preventing arms race in Space (it is not so with the oceans –Ocean surface and beneath probably because navies have existed over a millenia or before!) Will it remain so when more and more actors (space faring nations) enter the scene in future? What about the situation when human space habitats will be built in space (Moon, Mars, Asteroids or even just in the space itself - there are a number of speculative – science based designs for such habitats)?

Immediate threat to Space assets come from Anti-Satellite (ASAT) weapons. They are Earth-to-Space and Space-to-Space weapons. USA and Russia have tested various systems at least on experimental basis. There are also reports that China has experimented with elements of technologies required for ASAT. The whole set of military aggressive capabilities may have to be regulated in some form. May be the humankind will learn to do so as they have done with conventional military forces, and even nuclear weapons. Customary international laws will also help. Will newer forms of treaties (ever bilateral ones as was done between USA and USSR during cold war to limit nuclear tipped missiles with suitable supervisory controls).

Since 1981, the UNGA passed an annual resolution asking all States to refrain from actions contrary to the peaceful use of outer space and calling for negotiations in the UNCD on a multilateral agreement to support the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS). Though progress in UNCD is very slow, the PAROS resolution have been, in general, passed unanimously without about four absentions. That shows the wide spread interest. However it is to be noted that USA, the primary space power, is one of State consistently abstained from voting the resolution since 1995 along with Israel and a few others.

Dead lock continues in UNCD as China prioritizes PAROS for discussion, USA lists Fissile Material Cut off (FMCT) as first. Probably it will continue to be slow.

However positive development is that informal discussions of space security issues continue.

There is an increasing trend within the national military doctrine on a number of States on the security uses of outer space. For example US military doctrine reflects a growing interests in space control, that is “freedom of action in space from friendly forces while, when directed, denying it to the adversary”. At the operational level US Air forces calls for on-board protection capability for space assests coupled with offensive counter space system to ensure space control for US forces.

European Union has also started considering building of a space capacity to fulfill the objectives of the European Security Strategy. “Mastery of Space” may be an important operational objective.

The Japanese Diet had held a discussion in July 2004 regarding the extent to which the Japanese constitution should allow the use of space support of its Self Defence Forces.

India’s new army doctrine released in November 2004, noted plans to make extensive use of space-based sensors for short and intense military operations of the future.

There are several other facts which are covered in the document Space Security 2004.

Some of the Indian legal fraternity may wonder why I am dwelling on Security issues so much as in general our legal community does not consider military or security elements except for limited activities such as civil and economic rights or crimes.

But Space is a complex domain. It is a classic example of dual use (infact multiple use). For example present day civilian commercial remote sensing satellites have got a resolution capability which can easily be used for military applications. The civilian satellite communication satellites are easily amenable to military support, even if they were not predesigned with that application in view. If space security is lowered through various military doctrines and consequent operational capabilities in the satellites/ space objects, there is no way to distinguish them from other satellites. The whole question of liability, insurance etc may become considerably changed. Registration convention is too weak to identify all launches and space objects. Some space objects are not reported, even now, though such instances are low.

Therefore those who deal with Space Law have to understand the Space Security issues, as well.

SPACE ACT FOR INDIA

Is it necessary to consolidate various international obligations and national regulations by bringing out a Single Space Act?. There are some proponents for it. Others believe that customary international laws, individual Treaties, Conventions, Agreements etc as well as other instruments like ITU and also national policies on telecom, remote sensing, military doctrines etc would suffice. This is another area  in which some of our best legal minds can work on.

CONCLUSION

Use of Outer Space has come to stay. It is a part of the humanity with its benefits, excitement, threats and opportunities. Space activities starting from 1957 have spread to all spheres of human life and also have spread to many nations. Commercialisation of Space with entry of private actors even for launch vehicle development has increased, with its beneficial effects of access and also raising new questions Dual use (multiple use) capability of Space is a built-in feature, raising Space Security questions intertwined with usual civilian laws. This paper is a preliminary introduction to the subject. It is suggested that more and more Indian legal experts learn issues of Space law – for specific aspects and holistic aspects. Many of them can also contribute to the evolution of Space law in a global scale, as India is a respected space faring nation. There is also considerable scope of business avenues as well. One may even consider having special schools for space law and increasing exposure to the youth through systematic study of Space Law in law schools.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I would like to thank to International Law Association for giving me this opportunity. In particular, I thank Mr.P.H.Parekh who gives challenging tasks to me. I thank ISRO for providing me with a copy of document on IISL Space Law Conference 2005 “Bringing Space Benefits To The Asian Region” (In Conjunction with IAA Asia- Pacific Regional Conference “Advances in Planetary Exploration”) Volume of Papers, June 26-29,2005, Bangalore, India and The McGill University of Air and Space Law, Montreal Canada, for inviting me to the Space Security Working Group (SSWG) Meeting held on Feb 25-26 2005, which has updated me on the latest developments and given me access to Space Security 2004 document.

(This is a paper (Space Law) to be delivered at International Law Association, Annual Seminar on 6th August 2005, New Delhi).

For further study

References

1.IISL Space Law Conference 2005 “Bringing Space Benefits to the Asian Region” : Volume of Papers, June 26-29,2005, Bangalore, India, : Astronautical Society of India (ASI), International Institute of Space Law (IISL), France

2.Ricky Lee, Australia : “Legal and policy aspects of launch services provided by government and private providers”: Paper in Reference-1 : Authors e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

3.Prof. Paul Larsen, USA: “Current Commercial Launch Legal Issues: Human Space Flight”: Paper in Reference-1

4.Dr.Yun Zhao, Hong Kong : “Liberalisation of Launch services within a Plurilateral Regime, With Reference to China’s Commercial Launch services” :  Paper in Reference-1

5.S.S.Balakrishnan, ISRO: “Legal and policy aspects of launch services provided by government and private providers”: Paper in Reference-1 

6.Dr.Ranjana Kaul, India : “National Space Legislation”: Paper in Reference –1: Authors email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

7.Prof.Setsukao Aoki, Japan : Comments on “National Space Legislation: towards a Blueprint”: Paper in Reference-1 :  Author’s email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

8.Mehmood Pracha & V.B.Reddy, India : Commentary papers on “National Space Legislation: towards a Blueprint”: Paper in Reference -1; Author’s email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

9.D.Narayana Moorthi, ISRO: Commentary papers on “National Space Legislation: towards a Blueprint”: Paper in Reference-1 ; Author’s email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

10.Dr.Thierry LEMAIRE, CNES : “The International Charter on Space and Major Disasters” : Paper in Reference-1

11.Dr.M.Y.S.Prasad, ISRO: “Space-based Telecommunications including tele-education & telemedicine-Implications to the area of space law”

Paper in Reference-1

12.Mr.Mukund Rao & Mr.KRS.Murthi, ISRO : “Remote sensing images and GI Information –policy and legal perspectives” Paper in Reference-1  : Author’s email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  :  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

13.Prof.Mark Sundahl, USA : “The Cape Town Convention: Unleashing Capital for the Space Industry” : Paper in Reference -1 

14.Dr. Rajeev Lochan, ISRO: “Cape Town Convention & Space Protocol: A Critical Analysis” : Paper in Reference-1 : Author’s email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

15.Mr.Christian Barnabe, France : “Space Insurance” : Paper in Reference -1 :  Author’s email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

16.Mr.Brand Smith, France: “Intellectual Property Rights”  : Paper in Reference -1

17.Simon Collard–Wexler, Jessy Cowan-Sharp, Sarah Estabrooks, Amb.Thomas Graham Jr: Dr.Robert Lawson, Dr.William Marshal “Space Security 2004”: Published in Waterloo, ON, Canada : ISBN 0-920231-35-7: www.spacesecurity.org

Environmental Education through IT & Media

Y.S.Rajan

In the context of Developing Countries like India, it is a quite challenging environment for education. The Knowledge & Skill requirement required at various levels of society is quite complex, since socio-economic levels and occupation of people are very different. The author has discussed this in details in his papers “Towards a knowledge society in India: issues for management” published in International Journal of Information Technology and Management, Vol.2.No.3, 2003,pp.251-267.

The author will also discuss complex interaction between poverty removal and ensuring prosperity for all very briefly. Environmental education for sustainable development & ecological protection will depend on different segments of the society with specific case study for each of them. The author will elaborate on the role of Education of IT and environmental education.

Indian as Global Human Capital

Strategies for Knowledge & Skills

 

0.  India is a young nation now because 54% of the population is 25years and below and more young ones (about 20 million a year) get added. But this youthful population can be converted into Human Capital only by imparting to all of them relevant and quality knowledge and skills to meet the challenges of the global economy.

1.    In terms of actions (and therefore support / facilitating policies) we need to recognise the fact that Indians are placed in many stratified segments in terms of their economic strengths, endowments of knowledge / skills and availability of economic opportunities. Therefore there has to be customized policies / procedures to empower them in terms of their skills and importantly to launch them into their first earning opportunity (which for most Indians is going to be in self-employed category) as it has been for the past two decades.

2.    Most of the “public” debate / media attention / “high” level policy attention is around a narrow crust in the upper layer. Even within that the talk is about IIT’s IISc, Nanotechnology (money being controlled by a small group), occasionally IIM’s.

3.    While high quality specialised institutions require special attention – (I am aware of how institutions like ISRO, CCMB etc were built) one cannot bracket all S &T institutions or Academic institution under the same bracket and treat them similarly. Have only a very few select ones (be bold enough to select some only inspite of vested interests that currently control the S&T system). Empower them fully. Give them freedom and autonomy from Depts / Ministers like MHRD, DST, DBT, DSIR etc. That will take care of high quality by their own internal processes which also includes knowledge of the external requirements.

4.    In this connection one has to also give attention as to how some more such top class institutions can be built up either by Govt. or private or joint sector. One needs special fast entry and interference free functioning to grow. Policies and procedures are required for this. In addition by decontrol of Education sector and open assessment by Chartered Educationists (as is done by Charted Accountants) the average quality of most of higher professional educational system need to be raised. This cannot be achieved by more controls by UGC, AICTE, NACC etc who have infact stymied many good private lowest common denominator standards.

5.    The above four sections address the top tip of the trough marked E. (Reference: International Journal of Information Technology and Management, Volume2, No, 3, 2003, “ Towards a knowledge society in India: issues for management”: Y.S.Rajan: pp-251-267). Some of them in Biotech areas can also go to top of A. Also if there are progressive Venture Capitals – substantive amount for these high science / high tech sectors, India like Israel can create many entrepreneurs and high GDP contribution from these efforts. This will also enable highly qualified professionals seeing a growth for themselves in India.

6.    In a small middle layer those who have some 3year education beyond 10+2 form only about 6-8 % of the total age-cohorts. The solutions of a reasonable living for such persons are via jobs BPO’s and similar such jobs in the services sector (most of them non-permanent but better pays compensate lean periods) etc. But most of these persons, even such small segment of 6-8% of 20million each year is under heavy pressure because many of them have studied in their mother tongues and also without any orientation as to what the markets want. Most of them are even incapable of taking entry level exams for govt jobs like clerks, assistant’s etc. This group has to be empowered through proper orientation even when they are studying through many innovative methods for giving them skills.  Existing rigid syllabi have to be changed. For those who have passed out and are somewhere in the market as unemployed or underemployed, there has to be special efforts to give them such training.

Question: where are jobs?

With training some new openings of jobs arise as many jobs are not filled because of lack of availability of right persons.

Also Govt. would need to liberalize Services sectors to create investments which will increase such job opportunities.

Also encourage some of them to go abroad. Make massive efforts for language training etc.

(I may add that without a fast economic growth economically, socially solution for great employment is not possible. Therefore policies to stimulate faster economic growth are essential if we aim at empowering our people with Knowledge and hope to make them have a better quality of life through their Knowledge and Skills).

Also for this group after empowering them with necessary skill sets and knowledge, there has to be some micro credit facilities for those who aim at self-employment.

Risking public (Govt.) money this way is far superior than investing on a huge bureaucracy which does not service them. Even if some percentage cheat without returning the loan, it is worth the risk! Do not the nationalized government supervised banks carry NPA’s of a huge amount? When it comes to loaning to such knowledge / skills / empowered persons govt. bureaucracy raises many questions of public accountability. These persons of middle layer occupy possible in D and part of C (right hand side) of the curve referred above. Those at C would get a special lift upwards from their current level due to these measures.

7.  Coming now to the bottom layer, which carries about 90% of our youth about 18 million for each age group of about 20 million each. They occupy most of C-poor segments.

Their knowledge / skills improvement has to be done through massive Skill Initiative – first creating a pride in physical work; Carpentry; electrician work; agriculture; hairstyling; construction industry; biotech related field operational skills; para medical; para legal etc. This is to prepare the human resource. CII has started a Skills Development Initiative.

Simultaneously large scale demonstrations involving farmers, and others, have to be done to get many agriculture related activities modernisations as was done by late Prof.S. K.Sinha in Bihar, Uttaranchal, Kancheepuram etc. These are spreading through farmers very well. It involves skill sets to link to market, diversification of supplementary income through poultry milk etc. He had an idea of imparting relevant Biotechnology after their income levels come up – as it was doing remarkably.

Similar other efforts are done BAIF. (Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation).

There are other good examples in India – not necessarily the showy ones!

Such actual demonstrations in situ with people with low income and making them earn more are vital to sustain the skilled human resource with hope to try themselves. Such demonstrations require some hassle free public funding. Funding for these cannot carry the same format and conditions as is done for proposals from R&D Labs.

Third simultaneous action after skill set giving; and demonstration come pico (micro micro) level funding to those who are skilled so that they can start an economic life on their own.

PURA programme as advocated by our Rashtrapatiji can generate a lot of employment opportunity for such skilled persons in the new businesses that will come along with PURA, through investments.

These examples and three simultaneous actions cover those in sector C (who are both in rural areas, urban slums and small towns).

8.  Such upgradations are not one shot actions but a continuous process which should span about a decade or two. Then they will learn to learn by themselves.

It is possible to lift those currently in Sector C to an individual family income of Rs.1.Lakh per annum per family, if executed well.

The experiences in Bihar, UP, Uttaranchal etc by TIFAC and also by BAIF in other areas indicate, “ ordinary” Indians even illiterate one are extraordinary in learning if they can see clear economic benefits.

Then social benefits can follow.

9.     The above write up gives a brief outline of how Knowledge / Skill Management has to be done for the different layers of persons / groups in India. It is not enough to concentrate on the upper layer of knowledge skills and we need massive programmes for Middle and Lower layers too.

10. Also Knowledge / Skill upgradation should also accompany investments post knowledge / skill acquisition. Venture capital for the top; microcredits for the middle; picocredits for the lower ones. There has to be a mind set say in making these available without “ needlessly inelastic rules”.

 

 

Y.S.Rajan

20/09/05

 

 

Waiting For The Twenty First Century [Poem]

1) Revolution!......

The romantic tradition;

A vision for all

Truly universal!

Start with matter;

Theorise with science;

Recall vividly

The history of struggles;

Pour one's heart,

And distil the feelings!

Mass of humans

To rise as One! 

With the blood of

Kith and kin they make,

A brand new Life

And vision of Future

Spread their Message

Of Universal Happiness.....

 

2) Nehru saw these

Clearly too!

And fo!lnd a meaning

For Modem life!

The Indian wisdom,

Or fear of blood,

Or Mahatma Gandhi's

Mystic force,

Or the British background

Of careful thought,

He spurned violence

And drastic change!

In heart he loved

The romantic Left!

Pained to see them

Crushed with force!

 

 3) The nineteenth century

Gave us Marx,

In the early twentieth

The Soviet was born!

The International (e)

Was a heady call!

The dictatorships

Were overlooked,

As they were made

On people's name,

The History

Was the juggernaut,

To crush all

Thoughts and dissent alike!

Nehru spoke

In agony but

The developing countries

Under Colonial yoke

Needed somebody

To cut the chains;

Liberation wars

Were the heady calls.

And people's blood

Poured allover.

The masters fought

To keep the mines,

Tea gardens

And the access ports.......

The leftist goals

Were limited to

Tactics, alliance

And short term gains!

The ruling Left

And the fighting ones

Had different goals

In life and fight.

But slogans were cried

To rouse people

In whose name

They all swore.

The international (e)

Became formal

For fiery speech

And manifesto.

 

 4) Science changed

The production tools,

And the products

That were marketed;

Nuclear bombs

And missile force

Made many wars

So irrelevant!

Technology changed

So fast! So much!

The transport, guns

And everything

Communications

Became so fast;

And computers gave

The power and might

To those in charge of

The State to rule;

They monitor men,

And women and all!

Of every rebel

To keep them tracked!

The Leftist States

Used these with zeal

To keep under check

The peoples' fervour.

 

 5) Liberals abhorred

The States' new eyes

And the kill power

At their disposal;

Men like Sartre

Rebelled and fought

But knew not

What the humans

Could do.

Despair, gloom

And hopeless doom

Fell on those

Who thought of the status

Human race!

One-fifth lived in

Glory and boom

Four-fifths rot in

Penury and pain!

 

 6) The new Left

With its youthful men

And women of courage

And passion for change

Jumped into fray

To fight in streets

In cities, jungles

And any place they choose!

Che Guevera

With an ascetic courage

Fired their minds

And wiry bodies!

'Fight and die!

And kill them all!'

Was the message

They took with them!

States, both of Right and Left

Hated them

For asking change!

Change to what

And how and all,

No one knew.

And guns were shot.

 

 7) Technology and trade

Jumped in!

Newer guns and

Terrorist tools! 

Gory groups

And mass murders!

Language, religion or

Any other divide,

Was good enough

For a leftist to crutch!

Some went to polls

Siding one side

In a parochial divide!

Some were clever

To make a business

Of the human uneasiness!

Some still fought

From hills and towns

With an eye on power!

Some cried

Within their hearts

And took on

Petty jobs!

Nehru leaned on

Buddha's thoughts

On science and human mind!

He talked of

The miles to go

A quarter century gone!

 

8) Some naxalites died

In Nehru's own land....

And we hear many others die!

Reasons vary

And places vary

But the overall vision

Looks so wary!

 

 9) The Soviet Union

Is showing cracks

Of nationalist

And ethnic hatreds;

Shampoo, soaps and cosmetics

Better dress

And fun, they want!

Eastern Europe

Is shackling down

Its rusty

Leftist bureaucracy!

China still is

Under the lid

Of party-military

Overlords!

West is buoyant

And Africa dull.

And the Latins

Are without their zest;

Part of Asia

Has gone with the West;

The Islamic societies

Are searching themselves;

 

 10) And India waits!

For too long it waits!

Tied up

In its pluralism!

Where to go?

And what to do?

Answers are not

Coming forth!

Past weighs heavy;

Present looks tricky;

How will future be?

Many are busy

With daily routines;

The Left is lost

With Nehru's century!

 

 11) Yesterday Rohana died,

An angry man

Of disarrayed left,

Ethnic hatred

The fuel he used

Engulfed him,

In its spit-fire!

Whatever be it,

The last of all rebel

Is dead and gone

For the world to see!

 

12) Look at the world!

And think of it!

Is it marching on?

Or drifting along

Sedation phase?

With dreams and loves,

Passions and peace,

Of visions of

Past and future;

Engineered through

Electronic means?

Are their lives

Governed by Will

Collective or individual?

Or are they a part of

The Market Force?

 

13) Is it necessary

To find answers?

Is it possible

To find them all?

May be,

It is beautiful

To walk along

To run and sweat

To tire and sleep

To wake again

To feel fresh

And walk........

And act with passion

And peace in mind.......

Does it sound mystic?

Or agnostic?

Optimistic?

Or pessimistic?

 

 14) Lose not hope

In humans or Life

The complexity

Is now puzzling us!

Stop not the search,

Or the questioning mind,

Or the work at hand

Or the newer tasks!

Walk, march, run,

There are miles to go,

Never there is an end,

Life is what you make it.....

November 14, 1989