Indian Space Association (ISpA), a public-private partnership initiative between the Government of India, ISRO and private space companies, was launched this week at the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The event marks a significant policy change in which the Government has transformed its role from a controller to an enabler.
Liberalization of ‘Space’ Economy
Space has so far been a state subject, where private players have had a very limited scope to enter and expand. At the same time, India’s pioneer space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation, has been performing exceedingly well, so much so that it is a subject of envy for the developed world. Yet, for expanding India’s share from a mere 2% of the global space economy, now worth $440 billion, the decision to ‘liberalize’ the space sector may come as a key to unleash Indian expansion and take it to a point where the sky is the limit.
‘Space’ and National Security
The deep and broad impact that the formation of ISpA will have on the nation could be gauged from the presence and address of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval at the launch. He highlighted the need for India to augment its commercially available indigenous satellite communication solutions, global tracking capabilities and protection of space assets. The statement may provide a hint at the higher and greater role ISRO could play in India’s space policy in the times to come with the offloading of commercial tasks to the private sector.
‘Space’ and the Common man’s Good
– Satellite Internet: At the ISpA launch event, the announcement by Bharti Airtel’s subsidiary, OneWeb, to launch Satellite Internet in partnership with the ISRO grabbed attention. OneWeb plans to launch 600-plus satellites to provide satellite internet for common masses even in the remotest corners of India.
– Job creation: ISRO has reported about 40 start-ups, including 27 foreign companies, having approached them for starting space ventures. Consequently, and as per estimates, the privatization of space will generate around 2,00,000 jobs in India and create more start-ups.
Not just satellites and interplanetary study missions, today’s space sector is taking leaps towards asteroid mining, space tourism, moon colony, space force, etc. Thus, with the world set for a shift from the ‘Information Technology Age’ to the ‘Space Age’, India appears ready to embrace space business using its superpower in space technology.