Participation of startups, non-government private entities vital for Space sector growth: ISRO chairman
Speaking at the national conference ‘Development of Space Startup Ecosystem in India organised by the Astronautical Society of India, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) S Somanth said the growth of the space sector cannot happen without the participation of non-government entities, startups and academia.
“We are providing services to the nation in the sectors of communication, remote sensing, navigation and various other strategic users. If you really want to expand the space activities in this country to a scale of magnitude which we all desire to have, then we need to have the role of non-government entities; let it be startups and academia. They have to come up in a big manner. If you really look at the hundreds plus startups that are there in the space (sector), what I see is the enthusiasm, energy and innovation. But what we need today is to encourage them, maybe in the form of knowledge from our system,” he said.
The one-day conference brought together space industry experts from government and non-government private entities (NGPE) space startups to deliberate ways to develop the NGPE vertical in India.
Lt Gen A K Bhatt, Director General, Indian Space Association said, “The space startups have already been receiving private capital incentives in the form of seed funding from angel investors and venture capitalists but in order to sustain themselves, they would require active procurement from the government and support for their future development. I am confident that the New Space Policy followed by the Space Activity Bill would ensure prompt and positive action on issues such as the availability of testing facilities, both on the ground and in space, as well as clarity on data use, import incentives and technical details.”
He hailed the government’s decision to open up the space domain to the private sector and said the establishment of the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) was a real game-changer. “The Prime Minister’s desire to form an apex space association for articulating and putting forward the aspirations and desires of the space community will help the industry grow multi-folds as the much-awaited policy is announced. Furthermore, the multitude of permissions and clearances required by the startups across several ministries is a major issue but I am convinced that with the establishment of IN-SPACe and its promise of a single window, many of these issues, as well as clarity in the FDI policy and intellectual property rights for IP created in the space will be addressed,” Gen Bhatt said.
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