The Union Cabinet 24 June 2020 announced the formation of the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) to promote the participation of private industries in space activities, including planetary exploration missions. The Cabinet decision comes weeks after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the opening up of the space sector for private entities.
 
 
What
  1. IN-SPACe will provide a level playing field for private companies to use Indian space infrastructure and will guide them “through encouraging policies and a friendly regulatory environment”.
  2. However, IN-SPACe will not be a separate institution but work as an extension into ISRO, said Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space, Jitendra Singh. The Department of Space comes under the PMO.
  3. The Cabinet also said that the public sector enterprise ‘New Space India Limited (NSIL)’ would endeavour to re-orient space activities from a ‘supply driven’ model to a ‘demand driven’ model, thereby ensuring optimum utilisation of ISRO’s space assets.
  4. The reforms, will allow ISRO to focus more on research and development activities, new technologies, exploration missions and human spaceflight programme. 
  5. It also hinted at the participation of private entities in some of the planetary exploration missions through an ‘announcement of opportunity’ mechanism.
  6. The latest announcement comes as ISRO prepares for its third planned lunar exploration mission Chandrayaan-3 and its first manned mission to space, Gaganyaan.
Key benefits of the reforms
  1. The space sector can play a major catalytic role in the technological advancement and expansion of our industrial base.
  2. The proposed reforms will enhance the socio-economic use of space assets and activities, including through improved access to space assets, data and facilities.
  3. The newly created Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) will provide a level playing field for private companies to use Indian space infrastructure.
  4. It will also hand-hold, promote and guide the private industries in space activities through encouraging policies and a friendly regulatory environment.
  5. The Public Sector Enterprise ‘New Space India Limited (NSIL)’ will endeavour to re-orient space activities from a ‘supply driven’ model to a ‘demand driven’ model, thereby ensuring optimum utilization of our space assets.
  6. These reforms will allow Isro to focus more on research and development activities, new technologies, exploration missions and human spaceflight programme.
  7. Some of the planetary exploration missions will also be opened up to the private sector through an ‘announcement of opportunity’ mechanism.
  8. As India is among a handful of countries with advanced capabilities in the space sector, these reforms the sector will receive new energy and dynamism, to help the country leapfrog to the next stages of space activities.
  9. This will not only result in an accelerated growth of this sector but will enable Indian Industry to be an important player in the global space economy.
  10. With this, there is an opportunity for large-scale employment in the technology sector and India becoming a global technology powerhouse.