Space Activity Bill is with PMO for clearance: ISRO

Our Bureau Bengaluru | Updated on August 20, 2020

ISRO Chairman K. Sivan with Scientific Secretary ISRO, R. Uma Maheshwaran   -  The Hindu

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with an aim to facilitate a bigger role to the private sector is close to bringing out a Space Activity Bill.

“The Space Activity Bill after finalisation is with the ministry in this case – the PMO. Very soon it is expected to go before the Cabinet and then to the Parliament,” said R Uma Maheshwaran, Scientific Secretary at ISRO, while addressing a webinar on ‘Unlocking India’s potential in the space sector’ on Thursday.

“The Bill needs all clearance for India is a signatory to the Outer Space Treaty,” he added.

ISRO Chairman K Sivan, in his opening remarks, said reforms are needed for the space sector especially when private sector participation is allowed. “When we say reforms and private sector participation here I want to say again that this won’t mean that ISRO is being privatised. That is a misconception and I want to assure you that ISRO will continue to work as it has been.”

He explained the newly-incorporated New Space India Limited (NSIL), under the Department of Space, and efforts in realising PSLVs from industry initiated.

Pertaining to future programmes, Sivan said Chandrayaan-3 mission to the moon, comprising a lander and a rover is approved by the Government and activities for its realisation are in progress.

The Space Activity Bill

The Bill after getting all clearance will facilitate creation of a national level autonomous nodal agency to permit and monitor private sector’s space activities as per regulatory provisions, permit usage of ISRO’s facilities as per private sector’s requirements and promote and handhold private players.

According to Maheshwaran, the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) is proposed as an autonomous nodal agency for enabling – promotion and hand holding of industries, building of launch vehicles and satellites, sharing of ISRO’s facilities, establishment of facilities in DOS premises, launch campaign and launch and space based services.

“This is also to draw up an integrated launch manifesto based on private sector, NSIL and ISRO readiness,” he added.

Prime Minister’s Principal Scientific Adviser K Vijayaraghavan, participating in the webinar, said: “Industry needs to invest sufficiently in R&D and pointed out that Indian companies doesn’t mean they do not have capital, but what is lacking in them is the risk capital. For this academics, with their talent is required to join hands to create risk mitigation measures.”

Anand Mahindra, Mahindra Group Chairman, said: “ISRO with whatever resources has achieved a lot. What is needed for it to accelerate is the active participation of the private sector. Here, the Department of Space needs to think and work on the lines of NASA that are working to bring in changes to capital allocation.”

He further propagated the knowledge ecosystem in the country, “We want is an unconventional approach and narrated the story of Hiranyakashyap. Here how Lord Narasimha slay Hiranyakashyap with an unconventional approach.”

Biological E Managing Director Mahima Datla in her talk shared the way industry-academia is working in vaccine development. “Here for the ecosystem to thrive and be successful one should focus on R&D, offer financial incentives and create an enabling ecosystem locally.”

MS Ananth, former director of IIT-Madras, urged ISRO to emulate DRDO’s success by partnering with IIT-Madras. Now, ISRO as it partners with the private sector it should set up centres of excellence at academic institutions in the country for different aspects of space applications.

Published on August 20, 2020

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