BENGALURU: Top Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists on Thursday stressed on the significance of India’s Space Activities Bill. They pointed out areas of deeper participation by the private sector in the country’s space programmes, including manufacture of communication satellites, considering such satellites were on the import embargo list.
Participating in a webinar ‘Unlocking of India’s Potential in Space Sector’, ISRO Chairman K Sivan said the main aim of the reforms was to enable the private sector companies to engage in space research and activities. But this is not to be understood as steps to privatise ISRO, he said.
“When the space sector reforms were announced by the government, there were misconceptions about it leading to privatisation of ISRO. It is not. I repeat: It is not privatisation of ISRO,” Sivan said. Sivan said with the opening of the space sector, the country’s space agency could focus on technology development and capacity building and facilitate private sector participation in major national missions through announcement of opportunity.
India’s Space Activities Bill is aimed at providing a dedicated space legislation for India with a much-increased role to play for the private players in the space sector. The draft bill was made public for comments by ISRO in November 2017.
On June 24, the Centre approved the participation of the private sector in the full range of space activities.
Towards that end, the newly created Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) was set up to enable private companies to utilise the country’s space infrastructure, and allow ISRO to guide them. R Uma Maheshwaran, Scientific Secretary to ISRO, said the bill is in its final shape and has been presented to the Centre for inter-ministerial consultations.