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ISRO Chairman EXCLUSIVE: 'Are we getting the best talent in India? Answer is NO'

Taking part in a special edition of Asianet News 'Dialogues', ISRO Chairman S Somanath sheds light on the complexities of attracting top talent to the organization. Somanath emphasizes that ISRO's appeal extends beyond monetary rewards.

Money cannot attract people here, Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman S Somanath said in a special edition of Asianet News 'Dialogues' during which Asianet News Network was given exclusive access inside ISRO's U R Rao Satellite Centre in Bengaluru. Asked specifically if he was able to attract the best talent available in the country, the ISRO chairman said: "If you are asking 'are you getting the best talent', the answer is no."

Giving an example, Somanath said: "One of our teams went for recruitment to one of the IITs (Indian Institute of Technologies)... I will not name the IIT. They presented to them (students) their opportunities -- the pre-recruitment presentation -- and after the career options, they gave the salary structure. That included the ISRO pay structure. Students saw the highest amount they could ever get in ISRO. When they saw that, after the presentation, 60 per cent of the students in the hall just walked out. So you can imagine."

"The career ambitions of the people who join IITs are different. Money cannot attract people here (to ISRO). Then the next question is are we hiring adequate talent to do the work that we are doing... the answer is yes," the ISRO chief said.

He also confirmed that the multiple successes achieved by the ISRO in recent times have stoked interest among space professionals settled abroad who want to contribute to the space agency.

"Many of them... some very successful and senior people have been writing to us that we want to contribute to the space sector in India in some way. However the opportunities for such engagements are not like the United States and Europe. Here, we have to be employers. our terms of contract are government rules," he said.

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