Thursday, June 13, 2024

Emergence of the space economy in India

By Chaitali Bag

The space economy comprises of an extensive value-add chain that extends from producers of space hardware, research, and development entities, up to final users of space-enabled goods and services. In addition to creating millions of high-tech jobs, the space sector is modernizing technological leadership in India, fostering creativity, and improving the country’s trade balance. Space technology’s linkage effects have improved governance, spurred innovation, increased knowledge, and provided decision-makers with better information. The supply and demand side of the space economy are predicted to grow because of industry reforms in the country. India has the capacity to build its space economy significantly and might play a key role in facilitating the nation’s economic expansion.
Space economy has been identified in the Union Budget 2022–2023 as a significant “sunrise opportunity” for the Indian economy, with enormous potential to support large-scale sustainable growth and modernise the nation. The space economy consists of a lengthy value-added chain that begins with those involved in research and development and the producers of space hardware, such as launch vehicles, satellites, and ground stations and ends with those who supply final users with space-enabled goods and services, such as satellite phones and navigation devices, and satellite-based meteorological services or direct-to-home video services (OECD). The space programme started in the early 60s with the primary goal of using it for rapid economic development. The investments are especially justified because of the socioeconomic returns that the programme provisions for larger segments of society through increased economic activity, cost efficiencies, productivity gains, and inclusivity across various economic sectors.

The Nehruvian era’s early development decades’ emphasis on import substitution, self-sufficiency, and self-reliance contributed to the achievement of domestic technological capabilities in the Indian space program.
As a result, complex capital goods and heavy machinery were carefully designed as part of a diverse industrial production base. India’s desire for independence has led it to accept extremely difficult and resource-intensive projects like nuclear technology and space exploration. The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Cold War between the USSR and the USA, Indian policymakers’ self-reliance strategy, the new economic policy of 1991, and other international dynamics and policy changes have all contributed to the indigenization of India’s space industry. 82.2% of all R&D spending under the central government’s key scientific bodies is accounted for by five major scientific agencies: DRDO, DOS, ICAR, DAE, and CSIR. Of these, DRDO and DOS alone account for 50.6% of the total.
Inaugurating the Capacity Building Programme on Geospatial Technology & Applications, jointly organized by ISRO and Capacity Building Commission (CBC), Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology, MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, stated that India’s space economy is growing, especially in the last ten years under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Due to opening up of the Space sector, emergence of Space Startups and Industry linkages, India’s Space economy could skyrocket to $100 Billion in the years to come, as projected by foreign trade experts who are amazed by India’s quantum leap,” he said.

He also emphasised “Last ten years have been a watershed period in the scientific transformation in India’s journey since Independence. And as far as the Space & Geospace and the entire ecosystem is concerned, it is even more visible, more so in the last five years.”

Increased need for high bandwidth and low latency data requirements, connecting the disconnected with voice and data communication services, and the growth of IoT and autonomous systems would propel the satellite services and application market in India. Furthermore, the market is anticipated to grow because of a rise in demand for military and defence satellite communication systems. From the standpoint of the end-user industry, media and entertainment might make up 26% of the services market overall by 2025, with retail and enterprise coming in second at 21% and defence in third at 20%. Due to the adoption of innovative technology and an improvement in the resolution of commercially accessible pictures, the remote sensing market may have one of the highest CAGRs through 2025.

The “Made in India” campaign has given a boost to the satellite industry because there is a growing market for tiny satellites. In terms of growth, the Indian space economy’s satellite manufacturing sector is expected to be the second fastest by 2025. Companies involved in all aspects of the space value chain, particularly manufacturing, could benefit from the establishment of space parks across the nation. It would be essential to drawing in international entrepreneurs in the space industry and supporting India’s space tech incubation sector.

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