NEW DELHI: Days after, the historic privatisation of national carrier Air India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday morning launched the “Indian Space Association (ISpA)” to usher in a new wave of reforms in the country’s space sector for enabling faster growth in the Indian space industry and making the nation self-reliant (atmanirbhar) in the new-age space technologies.
What is Indian Space Association and how this is a significant reform?
Indian Space Association (ISpA) is a premier industry association of space and satellite companies that have been formed to become a collective voice of the Indian space industry which has been long waiting for a platform to launch its outer space endeavours. The founding members of ISpA include One Web, Mapmyindia, Bharti Airtel, L&T, Tata group’s Nelco among others. Lt. Gen. Anil Bhatt (Retd.) has been appointed as the new Director-General of the body.
ISpA will work in unison with ISRO in the domain of modern-day space technologies and assist in the development and implementation of futuristic space policies of the country. It will also help in the capacity development of the industry by promoting and nurturing the start-up culture in the Indian space scenario. ISpA has been launched on the lines of global practices in the space industry where private sector participation in strategic sectors is considered as an integral component of growth and development.
The slogan of the Indian Space Association is “Bhumandal se Brahmaand tak” which effectively translates to harnessing the potential of space technologies from societal applications of tele medicines, tele-education, disaster management programmes to deep-space research and interplanetary missions.
PM Modi on the launch of the premier body said that reforms in the space sector are primarily centred on four pillars namely: (i) Government’s role as an enabler (ii) Freedom of innovation to the private sector industry (iii) Envisioning the space sector as a tool for the development of a common man (iv) Preparing the Indian youth for future. The Prime Minister said that the space sector is a major medium for the progress of 1.3 billion countrymen. He remarked that ‘for India, the space sector means better mapping, imaging and connectivity facilities for the common people. Also, the space sector means better speed from shipment to delivery for entrepreneurs, this also means better security and income for fishermen and better forecast of the natural calamity,’ he added.
He further added to it by saying: “Earlier the space sector was only limited to government, now we have changed that mindset and introduced innovations in the field and have now brought the government and startups together because it is not the time for linear innovation but exponential innovation.”
Detailed press release of Prime Minister on ISpA’s launch event : https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1762890
He concluded his speech by saying “the 20th-century tendency of trying to rule the space and the space sector, divided the countries of the world. Now in the 21st century, India will have to ensure that space plays an important role in uniting and connecting the world.”
It is worth noting here that of late, global space companies and international space organisations have been showing a keen interest in India’s satellite launching industry which offers affordable launching platforms with an exceptional success rate recorded in its name. ISpA however focuses more on exploring and developing avenues in satellite communication networks which could play an important role in developing an inclusive communication infrastructure that would offer seamless internet connectivity from gram panchayats in the mainland to the remote areas in mountainous terrains.
The satellite communication space has largely been left unexplored by the Indian space industry with only 3 lakh users of satellite networks in the country as of August this year, whereas at the same time the userbase stands at 21 lakh in the US and 45 lakhs in European Union. Instilling reforms in the space sector would also help India in making strategic gains over its adversaries like China and Pakistan.
A New India which aspires to be a global power in the near future needs such long-awaited reforms to come into force in every sector in due course for a fast-paced growth of the Indian economy and for becoming a global leader in the technology revolution taking place around the world.