New Delhi, April 22, 2023 – The long-awaited new Spacecom Policy was released by the Indian Government yesterday, and it has definitely been worth the wait. India’s space sector is a very happening sector, all set to grow aggressively several fold through synergistic actions between public and private sectors. Notably, ISRO has been churning out remarkable achievements since the last few years in the space sector that has made the rest of the world sit up and take notice. However, a need was felt to review the structure of this sector to enhance both private participation and public sector R&D to take India to the next level.
The advent of a new space policy was indicated two years ago when the Indian Government progressively released many reforms in the space domain from 2020. Several consultations were held as it is understandable that a major policy initiative like this has to be well pondered over before final release, and the outcome is truly commendable.
With as many as 6-7 government/regulatory agencies involved, huge complexities arise and there needs to be a clear understanding of the various functions, responsibilities and obligations in order to achieve the best results. Till now, this picture was a bit hazy but the near-impossible objective of total clarity has been superbly accomplished in the policy document released yesterday as Indian Space Policy 2023.
As pointed out by T.V. Ramachandran, President of Broadband India Forum, “For the first time, such abundant clarity has been provided on the matrix of functions and responsibilities that it should be extremely smooth for India to take off powerfully in its space mission. It is a welcome and laudable policy.”
Initial reading of the policy reveals several welcome measures that would give fresh impetus to the sector including:
1. Both public and private sector consumers of space technologies or services (such as communications and remote sensing, data services, launch services, etc.) will hereafter be able to procure them from any source, whether private or public.
2. Government would hereafter focus more on encouraging advanced R&D in space, catering to national priorities.
3. Ensuring a level playing field to non-government entities through INSPACe.
4. Providing encouragement and support to space sector startups (Ref. Clause 3.0).
It is also encouraging to note that hereafter, private or non-government entities that bring operations of their space objects using foreign orbital resources but under a coordinated and registered Indian ITU filling and in accordance with the extent ITU rules and regulations, will be assisted and incentivised by INSPACe (Ref. Clause 11.2).
The above is an epoch-making measure which will give tremendous fillip to the Indian space sector.
Of course, it is clarified that INSPACe shall assist authorised NGEs to acquire new orbital resources through Indian ITU fillings to take care of their space operations (Ref. Clause 11.1).
It is also understood that there would be an increased thrust on R&D of new technologies and applications by ISRO to help India meet its overall objective of leadership in the space mission. There is abundant clarity on the multifarious coordinating, facilitating, regulatory/level-playing-field-related activities of INSPACe as well as on the important commercialising, manufacturing and service-oriented functions of NSIL.
As summarised by T.V. Ramachandran “The Indian Satellite Sector is tremendously enthused and motivated by the new Spacecom Policy 2023, and looks forward to taking giant strides for India in the near future.”