[Answered] “While recent launch of Chandrayaan-2 showcased ISRO’s capabilities, India should now move on to create a public-private ecosystem in space capabilities.” Discuss.

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Why private players are important for space activities?
Conclusion. Way forward.

ISRO is one of the most successful space agency around the world. It has shown the world India’s capabilities by launching Mangalyaan and Chandrayaan-2 at low cost. Private sector role in space activities is yet to be explored. With increasing race to space across the globe and increasing space commercialisation, India should evolve a public-private ecosystem in space explorations increasing India’s capabilities.

Why private players should be involved in space activities?

  1. Economic Benefits:
    • Economic growth: Private sector will help in economic growth. It will create more opportunities for foreign direct investments (FDI) through the ‘Make in India’, or the ‘Digital India’ campaigns.
    • More exports: India’s contribution to global space industry is estimated at $7 billion (just 2% of the global market). Private sector involvement will increase India’s contributions globally. This will help in growing Indian exports in space related services like launching satellite.
    • Greater resources availability: Public resources like land, labour, capital are locked in private sector mainly. Private sector participation will open new pool of resources and talent. It will bring more funding, and experience into space exploration activities.
    • More Innovation: New ideas will come from the industry. This will lead to more innovation. E.g Earth2Orbit, space startup is aiming to solve climate change from outer space.
    • Commercial Benefits: There is need to enhance internet connectivity for the masses, which is another factor to increase role of private sector in space. Asteroid mining is also another potential area that can be monetised. Private sector can play a bigger role in this. This will help Indian industry to grow commercially.
  • Social Benefits:
    • Technological advancement: Commercialisation will develop better technologies. It will allow integration of many other technologies like artificial intelligence into space exploration activities. With experience from space activities, private sector can increase role of technology in other areas.
    • Human Capital: Private sector participation can help in exploiting locked demographic dividend in space-related activities. It will also help ISRO to overcome manpower constraints. ISRO is going to double the number of satellites launched in the next two years and this would necessitate active involvement and participation of the private sector. Also privatisation of space will help in reversing brain-drain from the country.
    • Additional Employment: As the space sector expands with bigger projects and missions, more people will be required to get the job done. Thus it will lead to more jobs.
    • Better education: Youth and students will take more interest in space technology as they will see Aeronautics and Space sector as a career option. This will help in modifying curriculum and syllabus leading to better courses and education.
  • Other Reasons:
    • It will reduce ISRO’s workload.
    • It will provide more time for ISRO on innovations like Reusable PSLVs, Cryogenic rockets, mars inhabitation.
    • It willhelp in sharing of the risks of failure and cost of failure will be distributed. Further Joint ventures will bring the knowledge from various stakeholders and will minimise failures and increases productivity.

Till date space activities are led by ISRO. Time has come to include private players. Laws and policies are needed to support space entrepreneurship. This will lead to space commercialisation in India. By introducing Space Activities Bill and announcing Private-Public partnership plans, the government has shown the right intent.

Print Friendly and PDF