PM Modi launches Indian Space Association to act as collective voice of space industry

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the Indian Space Association (ISpA). It is an industry body that is made up of space and satellite companies from the Indian space domain. ISpA will act as the "collective voice of the Indian Space industry."

The members of ISpA include government bodies like Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL) and Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe).

Its founding members include Bharti Airtel, Larson & Toubro, Nelco (Tata Group), OneWeb, Mapmyindia, Walchandnagar Industries and Alpha Design Technologies.

Space travel for all. Image credit: Abigail Banerji/Tech2

Other members include Godrej, Hughes India, Ananth Technology Limited, Azista-BST Aerospace Private Limited, BEL, Centum Electronics, Maxar India.

ISpA will support the government's vision of Atmanirbhar India while also becoming a leader in space - which is "the next growth frontier for mankind." It will be an independent, “single-window” agency that will open up the Indian space sector to the private sector as well as start-ups.

The current space industry is about USD 360 billion but India's presence accounts for only about two percent. ISRO says it has the "potential to capture nine percent of the global market share by 2030." This is where the organisation could step in. It will work to engage with stakeholders, policies and also building relations with the international space industry.

Modi said that the government's approach to space reforms is based on four pillars - freedom of innovation to the private sector, government as an enabler, preparing the youth for the future and the space sector as a resource for the progress of the common man.

Modi said, “Today is the day the Indian space sector receives new wings. For 75 years since independence, Indian space has been dominated by a single umbrella of Indian government and government institutions. Scientists of India have made huge achievements in these decades, but the need of the hour is that there should be no restrictions on Indian talent, whether it is in the public sector or in the private sector."

“These reforms will provide opportunities for both industry and academia,” he added.

Benefits for everyone

Modi, during his speech, said that the space industry should be accessible to all and benefit everyone, even the common man.

The space sector, according to the Prime Minister, can act as a crucial platform for the progress of the country's 130 million people. It promises greater mapping, imaging, and connectivity for the general public or entrepreneurs. It also implies quicker delivery times, improved security and income for fishermen, and better natural disaster forecasting.

The PM gave various real-life examples of the use of space tech - According to the Bima Yojna, the NAVIC system is assisting fishermen, and disaster management planning is also being carried out using this technology.

It is also being used for geotagging in low-income housing units, road and infrastructure projects, and satellite image monitoring of development projects.

Modi said India is now among the top digital economies in the world because we were able to make the power of data available to the lowest of the poor.

During this virtual meeting, the PM engaged with the various stakeholders in the Indian space sector. They spoke to him about the difficulties they face and Modi said that their suggestions will help provide a better Spacecom policy and Remote Sensing Policy.

Modi said, "The decisions and the policy reforms that we take today will have an impact on the future generations for the next 25 years."

He added, that in the 20 century, ruling in space divided the world with the 21 century, India must ensure that space plays a role in uniting the world.

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