Ban on import of communication satellites opens up opportunity: ISRO chief

Chennai, Aug 20 (IANS) The government’s decision to ban import of communication satellites throws up huge opportunity for private players, said K. Sivan, Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Secretary, Department of Space.
Speaking at the webinar on ‘Unlocking India’s Potential in Space Sector’ on Thursday, Sivan said the decision throws up a huge opportunity for private players, ISRO and NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL).
Recently the government had banned import of 101 defence items to make the Indian defence industry self-reliant and boost indigenisation.
The list of import embargoed items include satellites like GSAT 7R, GSAT-6 Satellite Terminals and Communication Satellite GSAT-7C.
Sivan also said the launch of small satellites also offers immense potential for the private sector and some private sector companies will soon realise their rockets.
According to him, the private sector participation in the space sector is healthy as it increases diversity.
Stressing that ISRO is not being privatised Sivan said the space agency will look at research and development (R&D), capacity building and facilitate private sector participation.
He said the private sector will have to do its own R&D, funding, market studies and others while ISRO will provide the technical knowhow while the proposed Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) will be the regulatory body for the private players in the space sector.
According to Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group, the public-private-partnership (PPP) model is the way to go while unlocking potential in the space sector.
He said cost efficiency, high end engineering skill and frugal engineering will propel Indian space sector. Mahindra urged the government to think and create structures and systems that were not there earlier.
According to R. Umamaheswaran, Scientific Secretary, ISRO, the Space Activities Bill has been submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and inter-ministerial consultation will happen and the Cabinet will take a decision.
He added the Satcom Policy, Remote Sensing Policy is being reviewed and a new Navigation Policy is being formulated.
Mahima Datla, Managing Director, Biological E Ltd spoke about the PPP in development of vaccines.

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