Cabinet clears way to open up space sector to private players

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 24, 2020

Minister of State for Prime Minister Office Jitendra Singh addresses a press briefing, in New Delhi on June 24, 2020.   -  PTI

Swiftly acting on an earlier government decision to open up the space sector for private sector participation, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared creation of a new entity, called Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe), to facilitate private entities.

The centre is expected to provide a level playing field to private companies aspiring to use Indian space infrastructure. It will also hand-hold, promote and guide the private industries in space activities through supportive policies and a friendly regulatory environment, said Jitendra Singh, minister in charge of space, during a press conference here.

Allowing more private participation in Indian space activities was one of the major decisions announced as part of the Atma Nirbhar package launched by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman last month.

This will not only result in accelerated growth of this sector but will enable Indian Industry to be an important player in the global space economy. With this, there is an opportunity for large-scale employment in the technology sector and India becoming a global technology powerhouse.

Explaining further, Singh said this will particularly help young talented Indians who want to explore opportunities in the space sector. He cited the example of how young engineers passing out of the Indian Institute of Space Technology in Thiruvananthapuram are getting opportunities abroad, leading the brain drain. With the opening up of the Indian space sector, they would be able to explore their entrepreneurial skills here, he said.

The reforms, the minister added, will result in the sector receiving new energy and dynamism, enhance the socio-economic use of space assets and activities, and re-orient space activities from a ‘supply driven’ model to a ‘demand driven’ model, thereby ensuring optimum utilisation of Indian space assets.

The reforms will allow the Indian Space Research Organisation to focus more on research and development activities, new technologies, exploration missions and a human space-flight programme. Some planetary exploration missions will also be opened up to the private sector through an ‘announcement of opportunity’ mechanism, Singh said.

Published on June 24, 2020

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