Private firms allowed to access ISRO facilities, explore space travel
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday announced that the government will boost private participation in the space sector. The government plans to encourage private investments in the development of space technology, outer space travel, etc. The announcement came as the FM detailed the fourth tranche of the government's Rs. 20 lakh crore economic package to revive the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Sitharaman revealed that start-ups and private firms will be allowed to use facilities and assets of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to improve their capacities. She said the move will give private players a "level-playing field" to expand the development of space technology. Sitharaman said that the degree of private sector's participation extend to future projects for planetary exploration and outer space travel.
Sitharaman also said during the press briefing, "India already has the benefit of an extraordinary institution like ISRO, but now lots of private players are also coming in with innovative space technology." She added, "The Indian private sector will be a co-traveler in India's space sector journey. We will provide a predictable policy and regulatory environment to private players."
Further, Sitharaman said that a liberal geospatial data policy will be introduced by the government. She said, "There is a lot of geospatial data available in India. Currently, startups and private companies have to go abroad, but that will now change." She maintained that this is a sensitive area and will hence be required to follow strict guidelines.