In the backdrop of the spectre of uncertainty looming over the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, government has given a two-year extension to Anil Kakodkar, Secretary in the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).
Kakodkar, who closely monitored the negotiations for the civil nuclear deal, was due for retirement in November. This is his third extension.
Along with Kakodkar, the services of G Madhavan Nair, Secretary in the Department of Space were also extended for a period of two years. Nair was to retire this month-end.
The government, at a cabinet meeting on Thursday, decided to change the rules to extend the services of the two scientists.
The government wanted to ensure effective implementation of plans and programmes of vital national importance in space application and atomic energy, Union Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said.
India is scheduled to launch its maiden mission to the moon -- Chandrayaan-I -- in April next year. Besides, Nair is also involved in drafting the 'second vision' for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which includes a greater focus on low cost, access to space, planetary exploration and manned space missions.
The focus would be on reducing the costs of launching satellites, which currently costs 20,000 dollars per kg of payload.
The DAE has mastered the technology to build 220 MW Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR) nuclear reactors and now looks forward to export the same to needy countries.