Government of India created a new organisation known as IN-SPACe (Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre) which is a “single window nodal agency” established to boost the commercialisation of Indian space activities. A supplement to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the agency promotes the entry of the Non-Government Private Entities (NGPEs) in the Indian space sector.
- Today, the space economy is a $440 billion global sector, with India having less than 2% share in the sector.
- This is despite the fact that India is a leading space-faring country with end-to-end capabilities to make satellites, develop augmented launch vehicles and deploy inter-planetary missions.
- While total early-stage investments in space technologies in FY21 were $68 billion, India was on the fourth place with investments in about 110 firms, totalling not more than $2 billion.
- Extensive brain drain in India, which has increased by 85% since 2005. This can be linked to the bottlenecks in policies which create hindrances for private space ventures and founders to attract investors, making it virtually non-feasible to operate in India.
- The reason for the lack of independent private participation in space includes the absence of a framework to provide transparency and clarity in laws.
- The laws need to be broken down into multiple sections, each to address specific parts of the value chain and in accordance with the Outer Space Treaty (or the United Nations resolution, the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies). Dividing activities further into upstream and downstream space blocks will allow legislators to provide a solid foundation to products/services developed by the non-governmental and private sectors within the value chain
- Another crucial aspect of space law is insurance and indemnification clarity, particularly about who or which entity undertakes the liability in case of a mishap.
- Currently, many of the private entities are involved in equipment and frame manufacturing, with either outsourced specifications or leased licences. However, to create value, Indian space private companies need to generate their intellectual property for an independent product or service (e.g. satellite-based broadband) with ISRO neither being their sole or largest customer nor providing them IP and ensuring buy-back.
India currently stands on the cusp of building a space ecosystem and with ISRO being the guiding body, India can now evolve as a space start-up hub for the world. The sector is in the embryonic stage where the possibilities are limitless with a scope to build a feasible business model. However, to continue the growth engine, investors need to look up to the sector as the next “new-age” boom and ISRO needs to turn into an enabler from being a supporter. To ensure that the sky is not the limit, investor confidence needs to be pumped up and for the same, clear laws need to be defined.
How to structure:
- Give an intro about India’s achievement in space exploration
- Explain what India’s potential is in the Space Start up and space exploration
- Explain the challenges faced by bringing private players into it
- Suggest measures and conclude