On 20th August, The Hindustan Times reported that the indigenous navigation system ‘Gagan’ may be deployed in the maritime sector in India as per recommendations of the government.
Director General of Shipping (DGS) Malini Shankar said, “We have started deliberations with all stakeholders and the roadmap is being defined.” Gagan (GPS-aided geo augmented navigation) was launched in July 2015 and since then, the government has been looking out for various applications that it can be used in. According to reports, firstly, Gagan needs to get the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) nod to be used for movement of ships. The system is a good alternative to the current American or Russian systems, however, there is a felt need for heavy investments and clearances before it is in use.
Gagan has been developed jointly by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) at an investment of INR 774 crore (approximately USD 13 million). Initially, India could look at having Gagan for vessel traffic management system (VTMS) inside or in the close proximity of a port.
At the time of the launch, Gagan consisted of 15 Indian reference stations (INRES), two Indian master control centres (INMCCs), thee Indian land uplink station (INLUS), and two geostationary satellites.
The aviation sector may be the first to start using the system for transportation needs commercially. There is, however, a difference between air navigation and shipping, and a separate set of permissions are required for the latter, sources in the maritime sector pointed out.