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Industry, start-ups have immense opportunities in India’s growing space sector: Dr K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO & Secretary, Deptt of Space
Sep 13, 2021

Indian industry has a key role to play in the changing global Space landscape. Stating this in his Special Address in the Inaugural Session of the 3-day International Conference & Exhibition on Space 2021 on the theme ‘Building Newspace in India, being hosted on the CII Hive virtual platform, Dr K. Sivan, Chairman, ISRO and Secretary, Department of Space, Government of India said industry including start-ups will have a gamut of new opportunities in areas like building and launching launch vehicles and satellites, developing satellite-based services and ground-level systems, undertaking R&D, and supporting mission services.

Highlighting the importance of cooperation and collaboration in the Indian space sector that has been significantly opened up by Government of India since 2020, Dr Sivan said that industry will be called upon to play a critical role in dealing with various issues like congestion in space, using scarce frequency, mobilisation and utilisation of technological and financial resources, among others.

Underlining the growing importance of space technology and applications in diverse streams, Dr Sivan said that wide-scale use of mobile applications and IoT, along with broadcasting and remote sensing activities have spurred the demand for space tech and applications, which are also needed for furthering sustainable development. He said the Department of Space is deeply committed towards ensuring a level playing field for industry, and said the Indian National Space and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe) will play a pioneering role in furthering the joint efforts of ISRO and Indian industry and start-ups to leverage the emerging commercial opportunities in the space sector.

Dr Sivan also underscored the new opportunities for foreign companies to invest in the Indian space sector. The FDI norms pertaining to the space sector are being reviewed by the Government, he said.

Dr Pawan Goenka, Chairman Designate, IN-SPACe, in his Special Address said that while India has been at the forefront of space technology, the country has less than 2% share of the global space industry that is estimated to be of the size of USD440 billion. Today, as the space sector opens up, several startups are coming up in the area, some of which, he said, could even go on to become unicorns.

Dr Goenka said that many of the startups appear to be focused on upstream activities, whereas there are greater commercial opportunities seen in the downstream activities of space technology and applications. He said that IN-SPACe will be focused upon providing greater policy and regulatory clarity to industry, promoting private investment opportunities, identifying new space technology applications, ensuring seamless coordination between the different space agencies, opening up overseas markets for domestic suppliers, facilitating cross-deployment of technologies, among others.

Dr Umamaheshwaran, Scientific Secretary, ISRO and Incharge (IN-SPACe activities), in his Special Address said that IN-SPACe will be playing a catalytic role in promoting, handholding, monitoring and authorising private players operating in the domestic space sector. He said that industry has submitted various proposals for upstream and downstream activities that are being reviewed and will be acted upon. The Space Bill is also under consideration. Looking ahead, he said that a thriving space sector is taking shape in India.

Mr Nico van Putten, Deputy Director, Netherland Space Office (NSO) in his Special Address said that the Netherlands and India are furthering bilateral cooperation for space technology application in areas like monitoring of air quality and climate, earth observation in the realms of water resources and agriculture, miniaturisation and development of nano satellites, and manufacturing of components and sub-systems.

Commending India for its milestone Gaganyaan programme,  Mr Anthony Murfett, Deputy Head, Australia Space Agency in his Special Address said the agency is closely associated with the programme. He said there is immense scope for deep collaboration between Australian and Indian companies engaged in space technology and applications. He pointed out that the Australian Government is aiming to triple the size of its space industry from A$4 billion currently to A$12 billion by 2030. The global space industry size is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2040.

Dr D Radhakrishnan,  Chairman and Managing Director, NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) in his address said that strong private sector participation in the space sector will bring about effective utilisation of the country’s space infrastructure that is capital-intensive and has a long gestation period. Alluding to the space reforms undertaken by Government of India, he said the space missions are now moving towards a demand-diven model. That would also call for the investment opportunities to be made attractive for private players. He sees greater industrialisation across the space sector, including operating space launch vehicles. NSIL, he said, will play a major role in facilitating transfer of technology to the private sector.

Mr Rajan Navani, Chairman, CII India@75 Council said that CII is focused upon strengthening industry’s collaboration with Government and international space agencies. India is primed to emerge as a major space manufacturing hub in the true spirt of an ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’, he said. Mr Navani laid emphasis on the need for cluster development programmes that link the various space industry manufacturing companies. He also highlighted the imperative of promoting a robust space industry eco-system in the country.

Mr Rakesh Sasibhushan, Chairman, CII National Committee on Space, and CMD, Antrix Corporation Limited welcomed the dignitaries and participants in the conference. He said that foray of private companies in the commercial services segments of space will lend great vibrancy to the whole industry, which in turn will contribute significantly to the national GDP.

Mr A Arunachalam, Director, NSIL proposed the Vote of Thanks and concluded the session. International Conference & Exhibition on Space 2021 is being organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in association with Antrix Corporation, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and NewSpace India Limited (NSIL).

13 September 2021

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