IN-SPACe: Growing private role

  • IASbaba
  • June 26, 2020
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life 
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

IN-SPACe: Growing private role

Context: The government has approved the creation of a new organisation called Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), which is expected to be functional within six months

About IN-SPACe

  • IN-SPACE will be a separate vertical within the Department of Space (DoS) that will make independent decisions for permitting and regulating activities of the private sector. 
  • It will have its own legal, technological, activity promotion and monitoring directorates and its Board will comprise members from the private industry, academia and government of India
  • It will act as a national nodal agency for hand-holding and promoting private industry in the space sector and will even help private players build facilities within DoS premises

Why private participants?

  • It is not that there is no private industry involvement in India’s space sector. In fact, a large part of manufacturing and fabrication of rockets and satellites now happens in the private sector
  • However, Indian industries’ role has been mainly that of suppliers of components and sub-systems while there is huge scope for participation in satellite-based services, and ground-based systems.
  • Indian industry had a barely 3% share in a rapidly growing global space economy ($360 billion). There were several Indian companies waiting for make use of these opportunities but the policy environment in India was supportive of private players
  • Additionally, the demand for space-based applications and services is growing even within India, and ISRO is unable to cater to this. 

Significance of the creation of IN-SPACe: 

  • Facilitator and regulator: IN-SPACe will act as an interface between ISRO and private parties, and assess how best to utilise India’s space resources and increase space-based activities.
  • Fair Competition: IN-SPACe will provide a level playing field for private companies to use Indian space infrastructure.
  • Better utilisation of space resources: Existing ISRO infrastructure, both ground- and space-based, scientific and technical resources, and even data are planned to be made accessible to interested parties to enable them to carry out their space-related activities.
  • Strategic benefits: ISRO, like NASA, is essentially a scientific organisation whose main objective is exploration of space and carrying out scientific missions. The private industry will also free up ISRO to concentrate on science, R&D, interplanetary exploration and strategic launches.
  • Widening the horizon of Private participation: IN-SPACe will promote private players in end-to-end space services, including building and launching rockets and satellites and providing space-based services commercially.
  • Reorients space activities: IN-SPACe will reorient space sector from a ‘supply-driven’ model to a ‘demand-driven’ one, thereby ensuring optimum utilization of the nation’s space assets.
  • Leveraging the potential of Young Country: So far only ISRO was doing all space related activities. Opening up of the space sector means the potential of the entire country can be leveraged
  • Boost to Space Start-ups: This will not only result in an accelerated growth of the sector but also enable India to generate large scale employment in the technology sector.
  • Additional revenue: ISRO can earn some money by making its facilities and data available to private players

Way Ahead

  • Need for new navigation policies: India has the SatCom policy and Remote Sensing Data Policy (RSDP) but they need suitable modifications for the purpose of IN-SPACe to perform its duty in an effective manner
  • Changes needed in New Space India Limited (NSIL): It needs to be recalibrated to transform its approach of a supply-driven model to being a demand-driven model for space-based services
  • Enhancing ease of doing space business: Space activities are multi-layered projects which involve a lot of intricacies across domains, such as gaining access to frequencies, licensing of satellites for operation, ability to export products, imagery

Value Addition

  • The SatCom policy dictates the use of Indian National Satellite (INSAT) system’s capacity by non-governmental agencies, the establishment and operation of Indian Satellite Systems and the use of foreign satellites for SatCom Services
  • India’s Remote Sensing Data Policy (RSDP) is for the acquisition and distribution of remote sensing satellite data — from Indian and foreign satellites — for civilian users in India

Connecting the dots:

  • UN Outer Space Treaty
  • Gaganyaan Mission of ISRO

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