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ISRO: “We will not be privatised”

August 21, 2020

By Chris Forrester

India’s Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will not be privatised according to its Chairman, K Sivan.

India is reforming its space sector and there had been suggestions that one aspect could mean privatising ISRO. ISRO already has a commercial arm that handles many of its responsibilities especially the rental of capacity on many of India’s satellites.

Chairman Sivan, in an August 20th webinar, said: “When space sector reforms were announced by the government there were many misconceptions like it would lead to privatisation of ISRO. It is not. Again and again I’m repeating it is not the privatisation of ISRO.”

During the webinar he added the whole aim of reforms is enabling private players to carry out the space activities which is otherwise being done by ISRO; “In fact, the activities of ISRO are going to increase and ISRO will be able to better utilise its resources in taking up developmental as well as capacity building activities of the government, rather than the routine production [of satellites and rockets] activity,” he said.

India’s government has already approved private sector participation in the nation’s space activity, in particular looking to more planetary exploration. A newly-created Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) is claimed will provide a level playing field for private companies to use Indian space infrastructure, by hand-holding industries in space activities through encouraging policies and a friendly regulatory environment.

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