On April 20, 2023, the Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS), in its new Indian Space Policy (2023), publicly declared that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) shall transition out from the manufacture of operational space systems and focus its energies on research and development in advanced technologies.
The CCS approved the decision for the New Indian Space Policy on April 6, 2023.
The CCS also permits non-government entities (NGE) to offer national and international space-based communication services through self-owned, procured or leased geostationary orbit (GSO) and non-geostationary orbit (NGSO)satellite systems.
The policy also encourages NGE to establish and operate ground facilities and for space objects operations such as telemetry, tracking (TT&C), command Earth Stations, and Satellite Control Systems (SCS). It allows the NGEs to undertake end-to-end activities in the space sector by establishing and operating space objects, ground-based assets and related services such as communication, remote sensing and navigation.
The policy encouraged NGEs to manufacture and operate space transportation systems, including launch vehicles, shuttles, and design and develop reusable, recoverable and reconfigurable technologies and strategies for space transportation.
As per the Indian Space Policy of 2023, “any NGE engaged in such a process shall be entitled to possess, own, transport, use, and sell any such asteroid resource or space resource obtained by applicable law, including the international obligations of India.”
It also encouraged the enemy to engage in commercial recovery of an asteroid or space resource. It encouraged NGEs to use Indian orbital or non-Indian orbital resources to establish space objects for communication services over India and outside.
Industry Leaders have appreciated the policy and termed it “futuristic”, which will launch India and Indian Space Sector in the 21st Century to greater heights.
According to Lt. General AK Bhatt, the Director General of the Indian Space Association, “This policy provides the much-needed clarity on all space activities, especially regarding space communication and other Applications.”
The policy will catalyse the development of a robust initiative and globally competitive space ecosystem in India.
The policy also states that Indian consumers of space technology or services — such as communication, remote sensing, data services and launch services — whether from the public or the private sector, shall be free to procure them directly from any source.
The policy states that ISRO, as the national space agency, will focus primarily on researching and developing new space technologies and applications and expanding the human understanding of outer space.
To achieve this goal, the policy said ISRO should carry out applied research and development of newer systems to maintain India’s edge in the sector in space infrastructure, space transportation, space applications, capacity building and human spaceflight.
The policy stated that The Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre would be an autonomous government organisation mandated to promote, handhold, guide and authorise space activities in the country.
The policy clarified that New Space India Limited (NSIL), the public sector undertaking under the Department of Space, shall be responsible for commercialising space technologies and platforms created through public expenditure.
It also mandated NSIL to manufacture, lease or procure space components, technologies, platforms and other private or public assets on sound commercial principles.
The policy also tasked NSIL to service the space-based needs of users, whether government entities or non-government entities, on sound commercial principles.
It said the ‘Department of Space’ should oversee the distribution of responsibilities outlined in this policy and ensure that the different stakeholders are suitably empowered to discharge their respective functions without overlapping into the others’ domains.