The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is fully committed to enabling private industry and the academia to effectively participate in the country's space programme, ISRO chairman K. Sivan said on Saturday.

Dr. Sivan was addressing the ninth convocation of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) in virtual mode.

Dwelling on the space sector reforms kicked off by the Central government, he said India had succeeded in laying a strong foundation for the space programme, but cannot go on protecting the old system in the new environment. ''That phase is over. We need to move on. For this, we have to leverage the opportunities in the private industry to generate more cash flow and investment,'' he said, adding that in the changed scenario, the next few years will prove crucial.

From an essentially government-funded, government-conducted activity, the space program is transforming into a private-funded and private-conducted one. All entities under the Department of Space have revised their roles and mandates, he said.

Space Debris

Delivering the convocation address, G. Satheesh Reddy, chairman, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), underscored the need to develop technologies for addressing the problem of space debris.

Space debris, and potential collisions with satellites, have emerged as a major concern, with the increase in space-related activities globally.

Dr. Reddy stressed the importance of developing advanced technologies that enable effective space-based surveillance and defence systems and secure communication.

A total of 223 degrees were awarded on Saturday. UG topper Shashank Tomar and PG topper Sandeep C. R. were presented gold medals. Parthsarathi Samantha and Raghav Hariharan were awarded the Excellence Certificates for the best all-round performance in academic, co-curricular and extracurricular activities.

IIST Chancellor B. N. Suresh; S. Somanath, director, IIST and the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), also spoke.