Indian Space Policy 2023 [UPSC Notes]

In 2023, the Government of India launched the National Space Policy in order to leverage India’s unique expertise in this field. This is an important policy document that would define and influence India’s space sector in the coming years. India has made significant strides in the space field and there is room for further improvement in this regard so that the full benefits of this sector can be accessed by each and every citizen. This article describes in detail the newly announced space policy of India from the perspective of the IAS exam.

Indian Space Policy 2023

The policy has been formulated as an overarching, dynamic and composite framework to implement the space reform vision of the Government of India. The government had brought out reforms in this sector in 2020 opening the doors for the private sector and offering them a level playing field.

Stats related to the space sector: 

  • The global space economy is currently valued at about USD 360 billion. Despite being one of a few spacefaring nations in the world, India accounts for only about 2% of the space economy.
    • The total space economy in India is about US$ 9.6 billion. Even at this level India’s share of the world space economy is barely 2.6 percent and contributes 0.5 percent of the GDP.
  • Over the last 2 decades, the private sector has played an increasingly important role in other spacefaring countries within the global space economy.
  • There was a need to provide scope for Non-Governmental Entities (NGEs) for enhanced participation in the Indian space programme and playing key roles to boost India’s market share in the global space economy.
    • The Department of Space supported Agnikula Cosmos, a space technology startup based in Chennai, with the supply of a flight termination system (FTS).
Global space economy

Image source: PIB

Indian Space Policy – Guiding Principles

  • The reform also aims to make national space infrastructure developed over the years, available for use by the private industry through a business-friendly mechanism.
    • A mechanism has been created, where industries can approach IN-SPACe for utilizing the ISRO facilities. 
  • Optimizing the utilization of space assets such as satellites and launch capacity by determining accountability amongst various stakeholders.
  • Provide a level playing field and favourable regulatory environment for players within the Indian private sector. 
    • Allow private players to become independent actors in the space sector instead of being solely vendors or suppliers to the government program.

Vision of the Indian space policy 2023

  • To augment space capabilities; enable, encourage and develop a flourishing commercial presence in space; 
    • Use space as a driver of technology development and derived benefits in allied areas; pursue international relations, and create an ecosystem for effective implementation of space applications among all stakeholders. 

Indian Space Policy – Strategy to be adopted by the space agency: 

The  Government shall focus on:

  • Encouraging advanced Research & Development in the space sector to sustain and augment the space program.
  • Providing public goods and services using space technology for national priorities.
  • Creating a stable and predictable regulatory framework to provide a level playing field to Non-Government Entities in the space sector through IN-SPACe.
  • Promoting space-related education and innovation, including support to space-sector start-ups.
  • Using space as a driver for overall technology development, nurture scientific temperament in society, and increase awareness of space activities.

The policy delineates the roles and responsibilities of ISRO, space sector PSU NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), and IN-SPACe.

  • Strategic activities related to the space sector will be carried out by NSIL, working in a demand-driven mode.
  • IN-SPACe will be the interface between ISRO and NGEs.
  • ISRO will focus its energies on developing new technologies, new systems and R&D.
  • The operational part of ISRO’s missions will be moved to NSIL.
Vision of the space sector

Image source: PIB

Advantages of the Indian space policy: 

  • Promoting the private sector will enable the Indian space program to remain cost competitive within the global space market, and thus create several jobs in space and other related sectors.
  • The space sector has the potential to incubate a vibrant ecosystem of startups and private industries. By becoming a leading contributor to India’s economic growth story, the space sector is replicating the success seen in the IT sector today. 
  • This would also increase India’s share in the global space market significantly. 
  • The current policy would enable India to gain a strategic advantage in the field of space technologies which is emerging as a new area of economic activity. 
  • It will also enable India to provide safeguards to its space-based assets and protect them against any harmful attack. 
  • The new policy also provides a thrust in the field of generating white-collar employment opportunities for our population. 
  • Enhanced opportunities in this field and a rise in investment would prevent a brain drain from our country. 
  • It will also lead to a rise in investment in the field of Research and Development and thus pave the way for the emergence of new technologies.

Challenges Faced by the Space Industries

  • Space is a capital-intensive sector that requires a huge amount to be invested in it. Private sectors and start-ups may not be in a position to finance this huge cost. As a result, the government has to play a prime role in ushering the development. 
  • Space requires highly refined expertise and cutting-edge technology. But, we are aware of the fact that India spends very little money on research and development work which may create impediments to the development of this sector. 
  • Space science constitutes a part of the syllabus in very few universities and top-notch colleges. As a result, there is a low inflow of skilled manpower that can overtake this sector. 

The space sector offers various advantages to any country not only in terms of employment generation but also for strategic reasons. Therefore, the government must come forward and address this impediment that plagues the development of this sector. 

Indian Space Policy 2023:- Download PDF Here

Related Links
ISRO New Space India Limited (NSIL)
Satellite Launch Vehicle Program – PSLV & GSLV Gaganyaan Mission
Bhaskara I Satellite List of Indian Satellites


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