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Budget 2019: FM hikes Dept of Space outlay, pushes for commercialisation

New Space India Ltd, the commercial arm of Isro, gets a mention in Budget Speech

T E Narasimhan  |  Chennai 

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The budget allocation for the Department of Space for the year 2019-20 is estimated to go up by 11 per cent to about Rs 12,473 crore, from the revised estimate of Rs 11,200 crore during 2018-19. The outlay for Space Technology, including Gaganyan, for the year 2019-20 has gone up by 20 per cent to around Rs 8,408 crore, from the revised budget estimate of Rs 6,993 crore during the previous year.

During the fiscal, three Earth Observation spacecraft will be ready for launch. Four Polar Satellite Launch Vehicles (PSLV) launches and three Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III launches are expected this year.

As part of the outcomes expected during the year to augment of Space infrastructure for providing continuity of EO services with improved capabilities, it is targeting introduction of an Ocean Colour Monitor with 13 Spectral bands, a sea surface temperature sensor and continuation of microwave imaging in C-band.

It is targeting four indigenous launches using PSLV, three operational launches of GSLV Mark III and one indegnous launch using GSLV. The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is planning to launch its second moon mission, a completely indegenous project, during this month.

Space Applications has an outlay of Rs 1,885 crore during the fiscal compared to Rs 1,540 crore during the year 2018-19, while INSAT Satellite Systems will have an outlay of Rs 884 crore. The revised estimates for INSAT Systems in 2018-19 has seen a jump to Rs 1,330 crore, even though the budget estimates were around Rs 412 crore for that year.

The space applications, with an outlay of Rs 1,885.45 crore include realising of nine Earth Observation/Communication payloads, information support for almost 80 per cent of the major disaster events, releasing of 9,500 maps to support national missions and user projects and 450,000 value-added data products disseminated to the users either through sales or through free downloads.

Three communication satellites are expected to be launched under the INSAT Satellite Systems programme, to augment the capacity of INSAT and GSAT for existing services.

New Space India

The industry participation in the Space sector in the country is seeing revived interest, following the government's initiatives in attracting private players into the sector.

New Space India Ltd, a recently announced commercial arm of the Department of Space, found its way into the Budget Speech of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. She said India has emerged as a major space power with the technology and ability to launch satellites and other space products at globally low cost. "Time has come to harness this ability commercially," she said.

A Public Sector Enterprise, New Space India Limited (NSIL) has been incorporated as a new commercial arm of Department of Space to tap the benefits of the Research & Development carried out by

"The Company will spearhead commercialisation of various space products including production of launch vehicles, transfer to technologies and marketing of space products," she added. The comments come at a time when the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is poised to accelarate its space programmes, including launch of a new Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) and number of launch vehicles in order to cash in on the global interests from commercial firms to explore and utilise the potential offered by Space Science. The department is looking at involving more private sector firms in making launch vehicles in order for to focus more on larger research activities in space technology

Experts expect NSIL will be the crucial industry link for sustainability of commercialisation of space and satellite technology and privatisation of space vehicles and satellite manufacturing.

"We can expect to move towards self- sustainability through Public Private Partnership and keep public fund investment at manageable levels for long term vision and mission of the Agency," said Ratan Shrivastava is an Independent Aerospace & Defence consultant, who was also the Practice Director for Aerospace & Defence Consulting at Frost & Sullivan (Asia–Pacific).

The bugdet outlay for the major sectors in the space for the year 2019-20, include a Rs 8,408 crore for space technology including Gaganyan.

First Published: Fri, July 05 2019. 16:59 IST