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A Ground View of the Indian Space Policy 2023, The Hindu Editorial Analysis

The Hindu Editorial Analysis: The Editorial Analysis of The Hindu Newspaper Editorial Articles aimed at simplifying various concepts relevant to the UPSC and other State PSC Exams. The Editorial Analysis helps in expanding the knowledge base as well as framing better quality mains answers. Today’s Hindu Editorial Analysis of ‘A Ground View of the Indian Space Policy 2023’ discusses recently released Indian Space Policy 2023 and various features of the policy.

Indian Space Policy 2023 in News

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has recently launched the Indian Space Policy 2023 after several years of development. The industry has responded positively to the release of the Indian Space Policy 2023 document.

Tracing Development of India’s Space Sector

Prior to the 1990s, the Indian space industry and economy were primarily under the control of ISRO, with private sector involvement mainly limited to constructing designs and specifications for ISRO.

  • The advent of the Second Space Age, marked by the licensing of private TV channels, rapid expansion of the Internet, mobile telephony, and the emergence of smartphones, has significantly transformed the industry.
  • Currently, while ISRO’s budget amounts to around $1.6 billion, India’s space economy is valued at over $9.6 billion.
  • With the potential for double-digit annual growth in satellite-based services such as broadband, OTT, and 5G, it is projected that the Indian space industry could expand to $60 billion by 2030, creating more than two lakh jobs directly if the necessary conditions are in place.

Previous Efforts

Many of the previous efforts by the government to provide enabling policy environment has proved elusive. Few of them are listed below-

Satellite Communication Policy 1997

In 1997, the initial policy for satellite communication was introduced, which included regulations for foreign direct investment (FDI) in the satellite industry.

  • These guidelines were subsequently relaxed, but they failed to generate significant interest.
  • At present, over fifty percent of transponders that transmit TV signals to Indian households are carried by foreign satellites, leading to an annual outflow of more than $500 million.

Remote Sensing Data Policy 2001

In 2001, a policy for remote sensing data was introduced and later revised in 2011. It was replaced by the National Geospatial Policy in 2016, which was further liberalized in 2022.

  • Despite these efforts, Indian users, including security and defense agencies, continue to spend nearly $1 billion annually to procure earth observation data and imagery from foreign sources.

Draft Space Activities Bill 2017

In an effort to simplify the process, a draft Space Activities Bill was introduced in 2017 after undergoing an extensive consultative process.

  • However, it lapsed in 2019 with the outgoing Lok Sabha, and although the government was expected to introduce a new bill by 2021, it seems to have settled for the new policy statement.

Indian Space Policy 2023

The Indian Space Policy 2023 is distinct from earlier initiatives, as it is a concise document spanning only 11 pages, with a significant portion devoted to defining terms and abbreviations.

  • Its “Vision” centers on fostering a thriving commercial presence in space, recognizing the private sector’s vital role in the space economy’s entire value chain.
  • The policy outlines five crucial objectives, which encompass the country’s social and economic development, security, environmental protection, peaceful exploration of outer space, public awareness, and scientific pursuits.

Indian Space Policy 2023 Features

Indian Space Policy 2023 highlights various key roles that it will play in India’s Space Sector growth and development. Few Important highlights are discussed below-

On Space Security

The Indian Space Policy 2023 primarily focuses on civilian and peaceful applications of space technology, with only one reference to “security” in the document.

  • However, given the military’s growing reliance on space-based intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance, communication, positioning, and navigation capabilities, as well as India’s successful A-SAT direct ascent test in March 2019, the establishment of the Defence Space Agency and Defence Space Research Organisation in the same year, it is likely that a separate document detailing a defense-oriented space security policy will be published.
  • In contrast, the United States issues its space policy through the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Departments of Commerce and Transportation.
  • The Department of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence are responsible for developing the country’s space security strategy.

Defining Roles and Responsibilities

The Indian Space Policy 2023 outlines a specific approach and defines the responsibilities of various entities, including the Department of Space, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), and NewSpace India Limited (NSIL).

  • IN-SPACe was established in 2020, while NSIL was formed in 2019 as a replacement for the now-discontinued Antrix, to function as ISRO’s commercial arm under the Department of Space.

Focus on Advanced Technology Research and Development

According to the Indian Space Policy 2023, ISRO will no longer engage in the manufacturing of operational space systems, and instead transfer mature systems to industries for commercial use.

  • Its focus will shift towards advanced technology research and development, developing newer systems, and creating space objects that meet national requirements.
  • ISRO will also collaborate with non-government and government entities by sharing its technologies, products, processes, and best practices.
  • This indicates that ISRO will leverage its highly skilled and talented workforce to concentrate on cutting-edge R&D and long-term projects such as Chandrayaan and Gaganyaan.
  • The Indian Space Policy 2023 outlines that NSIL, as ISRO’s commercial wing, will serve as the primary interface for engaging with the industry.
  • NSIL will be responsible for commercial negotiations and providing support to ensure seamless and efficient technology transfers.

Promoting Non-Government Entities (NGEs)

Under the Indian Space Policy 2023, non-government entities (NGEs) including the private sector, are permitted to undertake end-to-end activities in the space sector, such as establishing and operating space objects, ground-based assets, and related services including communication, remote sensing, and navigation.

  • NGEs have the flexibility to self-own, procure, or lease satellites, and provide communication services within India or outside.
  • They can also disseminate remote sensing data in India or overseas, and design and operate launch vehicles for space transportation while establishing their own infrastructure.
  • Additionally, NGEs are allowed to make filings with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and engage in commercial recovery of asteroid resources.
  • The entire spectrum of space activities is now open to the private sector. Furthermore, security agencies can engage NGEs to procure tailor-made solutions to address their specific requirements.

Role of IN-SPACe

According to the Indian Space Policy 2023, non-government entities (NGEs) engaging in space activities must comply with guidelines and regulations to be issued by IN-SPACe.

  • IN-SPACe is expected to serve as a single-window agency, authorizing space activities for both government entities and NGEs, while adhering to safety, security, international obligations, and overall national interests.
  • The Indian Space Policy 2023 anticipates that IN-SPACe will establish a “stable and predictable regulatory framework” to ensure fair competition for non-government entities (NGEs).
  • In addition to promoting the establishment of industry clusters, IN-SPACe is expected to act as a regulator, providing guidelines on liability issues.

Gaps in Indian Space Policy 2023

There are many gaps in the Indian Space Policy 2023 that are still need to be filled in order to make it more comprehensive and relevant. Few of them are discussed below-

Lack of Clear Timeline

While the Indian Space Policy 2023 outlines a significant role for IN-SPACe, it does not include any specific timelines for the necessary steps that must be taken.

  • The policy does not provide a schedule for ISRO’s transition away from its current practices or for the establishment of the regulatory framework by IN-SPACe.
  • To ensure the success of the proposed framework, it will be necessary to establish clear regulations regarding FDI and licensing, government procurement to support new space start-ups, liability in the event of violations, and an appellate framework for dispute resolution.

Lack of Legal Framework for IN-SPACe

Establishing a regulatory body requires legislative authority, as seen in the cases of the Reserve Bank of India, Securities and Exchange Board of India, and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

  • IN-SPACe, being tasked with authorizing space activities for both government and non-government entities, needs a clear legal framework.
  • However, its current position is ambiguous as it operates under the Department of Space, and the Secretary (Space), who chairs ISRO, the entity to be regulated by IN-SPACe.


While the Space Policy 2023 outlines a promising vision for India’s future in space, it falls short without a concrete timeline for the legal framework required to turn this vision into reality. It is imperative that a clear timeframe be established to propel India into the Second Space Age.

IN SPACe Inaugration: IN-SPACe Headquarters Inaugurated in Ahmedabad

IN SPACe Inaugration: IN-SPACe Headquarters Inaugurated in Ahmedabad

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What is the Indian Space Policy 2023?

The Indian Space Policy 2023 is a policy document released by the Government of India outlining the country's vision and objectives for space exploration and utilization for the next decade. It provides guidelines and strategies for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Department of Space, and other related entities.

What are the key features of the Indian Space Policy 2023?

The key features of the Indian Space Policy 2023 include encouraging the participation of non-governmental entities in space activities, promoting private sector involvement in space technology development and commercialization, and increasing collaboration with other spacefaring nations. The policy also emphasizes the importance of space research and development for national security and socioeconomic development.

How will the Indian Space Policy 2023 impact the private sector?

The Indian Space Policy 2023 will significantly impact the private sector by allowing non-governmental entities to undertake end-to-end activities in the space sector, including establishing and operating space objects, ground-based assets, and related services. Private sector companies will also be allowed to design and operate launch vehicles for space transportation, establish their own infrastructure, and engage in the commercial recovery of asteroid resources.

What is the role of the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) under the Indian Space Policy 2023?

IN-SPACe is expected to act as the single-window agency for authorizing space activities by both government entities and non-governmental entities. It will also promote and support the development of the space industry in India, create industry clusters, and issue guidelines on liability issues. IN-SPACe will provide a stable and predictable regulatory framework to ensure a level playing field for the private sector in space-related activities.

When will the Indian Space Policy 2023 be implemented?

There is no specific timeline mentioned for the implementation of the Indian Space Policy 2023. However, it is expected that the necessary legal and regulatory frameworks will be put in place to translate the policy's objectives into reality in the coming years.

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