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Space sector reforms not aimed at privatisation of ISRO, asserts Sivan

Space sector reforms not aimed at privatisation of ISRO, asserts Sivan
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Space sector reforms not aimed at privatisation of ISRO, asserts Sivan

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The recently announced space sector reforms are not aimed at privatisation of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), its chairman and Secretary in the Department of Space, K Sivan asserted on Thursday.

Bengaluru: The recently announced space sector reforms are not aimed at privatisation of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), its chairman and Secretary in the Department of Space, K Sivan asserted on Thursday. The space agency stated that the draft on the proposed space activity bill is almost final and it will soon be placed before the Union Cabinet for approval."When space sector reforms were announced by the government there were many misconceptions like it would lead to privatisation of ISRO. It is not. Again and again I'm repeating it is not the privatisation of ISRO," Sivan said.

Addressing a webinar on 'Unlocking of India's Potential in Space Sector', he said the aim of reforms was to enable the private players to carry out the space activities which is otherwise being done by ISRO.

"In fact, the activities of ISRO are going to increase and ISRO will be able to better utilise its resources in taking up developmental as well as capacity building activities of the government, rather than the routine production activity," he added.

The Union Cabinet on June 24 approved participation of the private sector in the entire range of space activities, including planetary exploration missions.

It had said, the newly-created Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) will provide a level playing field for private companies to use Indian space infrastructure, by hand-holding industries in space activities through encouraging policies and a friendly regulatory environment.

Also, the New Space India Limited (NSIL), a PSU under the Department of Space, will endeavour to re-orient space activities from a "supply driven" model to a "demand driven" model, thereby ensuring optimum utilisation of our space assets, it had said.

Noting that the space sector reform introduced by the government is going to be a "real game changer", Sivan said private sector participation in the space sector has been increasing worldwide and it is a healthy trend, as it increases diversity.

In India too, space sector startups are taking developmental activities in both launch vehicles as well as in satellites, he said.

However, there was no mechanism available in the country to extend technology and infrastructure support to them.

Also there was no regulatory mechanism to control the private sector activities, so an institutional mechanism has been created as part of reform.

The webinar was attended by Principal Scientific Advisor to government of India K Vijay Raghavan, Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra, Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil B Mittal among others.

Further observing that with the opening of the space sector, ISRO can focus on technology development and capacity building Sivan said in addition to that it will also facilitate private sector participation in major national missions through announcement of opportunity.

However, the private sector will have to do their own research and development activities, business viability studies, funding as well as finding customers for their services, he said.

Pointing out that import of communication satellites is now in the embargo list under 'Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan', the ISRO Chief said there will be a need for large number of communication satellites to be launched in the immediate future and this could be a huge opportunity for ISRO and also for the private sector. PTI

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