New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her debut Budget speech on Friday said India had emerged as a space power and that “it was time to harness this ability commercially.”
Sitharaman announced the launch of a new space company, New Space India Limited (NSIL), which will serve as the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and allocated Rs 10 crore to the new company.
“A public sector enterprise, New Space India Limited, has been incorporated as a new commercial arm of the Department of Space to tap the benefits of research and development carried out by ISRO. The company will spearhead commercialisation of various space products, including production of launch vehicles, transfer of technologies and marketing of space products,” she said.
The department of space is trusted with directing the Indian space programme. The total 2019-20 budget estimate stands at Rs 12,473 crore which is 11.36 per cent and 15.67 per cent more than the Revised Estimates (RE) and Budget Estimates (BE) of 2018-19.
This year, the department of space accounts to 0.44 per cent of the total Union Budget 2019-20. Central sector schemes and projects have a total estimated budget of Rs 11,463 crore this year which is 13.36 per cent more than the 2018-19 (RE) budget.
With only a slight rise from last year’s offering, individual projects like Space Technology, Space Applications, Space Sciences and INSAT Satellite Systems were given a total budget of Rs 8,407 crore, Rs 1,885 crore, Rs 286 crore and Rs 884 crore, respectively.
The seventh dimension of the government’s vision for the next decade aims at the space programmes. Union Minister Piyush Goyal, while presenting the Interim Budget 2019-20 earlier this year, had said, “Our space programme – Gaganyaan, India becoming the launch-pad of satellites for the world and placing an Indian astronaut into space by 2022 — reflects this dimension of our vision.”