The Cabinet on Wednesday approved participation of the private sector in the entire range of space activities, including planetary exploration missions, Union minister Jitendra Singh said.
The newly created Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) will provide a level-playing field for private companies to use Indian space infrastructure, Singh, who is the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, said. The Department of Space comes under the PMO.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the move is yet another step in making India self-reliant and technologically advanced.
"The reform trajectory continues. The Union Cabinet’s approval to reforms in the space sector is yet another step towards making our nation self-reliant and technologically advanced. The reforms will boost private sector participation as well," Modi wrote on Twitter.
Singh said IN-SPACe will also hand-hold, promote and guide the private industries in space activities through encouraging policies and a friendly regulatory environment.
The 'New Space India Limited (NSIL), a PSU under the Department of Space, will endeavour to re-orient space activities from a 'supply driven' model to a 'demand driven' model, thereby ensuring optimum utilisation of our space assets, the minister said.
The Cabinet's decisions come weeks after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced opening up of the space sector for private entities.
Some of the planetary exploration missions will also be opened up to private sector through an 'announcement of opportunity' mechanism, a government statement said.
"This will not only result in an accelerated growth of this sector but will enable Indian Industry to be an important player in global space economy. With this, there is an opportunity for large-scale employment in the technology sector and India becoming a global technology powerhouse," it said.
The proposed reforms will enhance the socio-economic use of space assets and activities, including through improved access to space assets, data and facilities.
These reforms will allow ISRO to focus more on research and development activities, new technologies, exploration missions and human spaceflight programme, Singh said.
Modi also praised the Union cabinet for its "landmark" decisions aimed at accelerating economic growth, besides assisting farmers, villages and small businesses. In a series of tweets after chairing the Cabinet meeting, he said crores of Indians will gain from these decisions.
Referring to decisions related to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), Modi said out that the Cabinet approved an interest subvention scheme for Shishu loan accounts under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana. "This scheme would provide valuable support and stability to small businesses," he said.
Setting up of the Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund augurs well for the sector, he said, adding that it will boost the income of farmers. "Investment and sectoral infrastructure, especially in dairies, will get an impetus," he said.
Regarding the decision to upgrade the Kushinagar airport as an international airport, the PM said it is a great news for Uttar Pradesh. "Kushinagar Airport will now be an international airport. Connectivity will improve significantly. More tourists and pilgrims will also mean better opportunities for local population," he said.
(With inputs from PTI)