Space Industry in India

Ever since India sent a spacecraft to Mars in 2014, India has earned its place in the top-ranking space-faring nations (which include the US, Europe, Russia, China and Japan). The space sector in India can broadly be categorized into upstream and downstream industries. Upstream industries include manufacturing of satellites, their parts and subsystems, and launch vehicles. Downstream industries include satellite-based services, such as satellite TV, communications, imagery etc.

In India, right now, only government entities have a hold over the space sector. The commercial industries merely supply parts and components or manufacture subsystems for the satellites. Some of them use government’s space infrastructure to provide services to their consumers. In advanced space-faring nations, many of these blocks have already been deregulated and privatized to create a value chain and make a major contribution to the economy. Now that the government is promoting private investments in the space sector thoughts its ‘Make in India’ program, there are high chances that a private space industry ecosystem may come up in India too.

 

It is believed that the rise of the space industry in India can help in the following ways:

  • Adding an edge to India’s foreign policy as our space capabilities can be a part of our initiatives to foster new relationships,
  • Avoiding the outflow of tax-payer’s money to foreign hands from where we procure turnkey products and services,
  • Creating more opportunities for foreign direct investments (FDI), as well as new jobs for highly-skilled labour market
  • Empowering India’s defence system by equipping it with space technology, and allowing armed forces to procure defence products and services indigenously.
  • Reversing the brain-drain from India.

The global space industry was valued at $314.17 billion in 2013. Though India's space sector is dominated by ISRO (which works directly under the Prime Minister's Office), experts believe that the country is poised to be a key centre of space activity in the near future for pioneering cost-effective, efficient and innovative technologies.