Cabinet approves participation of private sector in space sector

New Delhi, Jun 24 (PTI) The Cabinet on Wednesday approved participation of the private sector in the entire range of space activities, including planetary exploration missions, Union minister Jitendra Singh said.  The newly-created Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) will provide a level playing field for private companies to use Indian space infrastructure, Singh, who is the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, said.

The Department of Space comes under the PMO.    This centre will also hand-hold, promote and guide the private industries in space activities through encouraging policies and a friendly regulatory environment, Singh added.

The 'New Space India Limited (NSIL), a PSU under the Department of Space, will endeavour to re-orient space activities from a 'supply driven' model to a 'demand driven' model, thereby ensuring optimum utilisation of our space assets, the minister said.

The Cabinet decisions come weeks after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced opening up of the space sector for private entities.

Some of the planetary exploration missions will also be opened up to private sector through an 'announcement of opportunity' mechanism, a government statement said.

The move will also help ISRO to focus on research activities, Singh noted.

The move will be very helpful to the private sector, ISRO chief K Sivan said.

Rajeshwari Rajagopalan, head of the Space and Nuclear Initiative of the Observer Research Foundation, said it is a welcome step to bring in the private sector because of the growing requirements for space based services within the country.

'It is the reality to deal with the capacity gap that exists,' she said, adding that a legislative and regulatory framework is needed to implement these measures.   'This (the development) will not only result in an 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,' the statement said.

The proposed reforms will enhance the socio-economic use of space assets and activities, including through improved access to space assets, data and facilities.

These reforms will allow ISRO to focus more on research and development activities, new technologies, exploration missions and human spaceflight programme, Singh said. PTI PR ZMN