ISROs Semi-Cryogenic engine unit undergoing test at Liquid Propulsion System Centre, SHAR

New Delhi: The Indian government has privatised space launches and set the target of increasing the share of the country's space sector five-fold by 2030 -- from current 2 percent to 10 percent globally.

During a meeting in New Delhi last week, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology, Jitendra Singh, said there has been around 200 times rise in space start-up in the country in just about two years, and this quantum jump has been possible because of a major policy decision taken by the Indian government to open up the space sector to the private sector and allow public-private participation (PPP) in a big way.

Jitendra Singh, while chairing the high-level meeting with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman S. Somanath and his team to review the 100 days Action Plan of the Department of Space, took stock of the present status, the opportunities and future space missions of the country's space sector.

The Union minister mentioned that space start-ups in India have increased from one in 2022 to nearly 200 in 2024, witnessing an unprecedented rise of 200 times in these years.

He also noted that in the year 2023 alone, nearly ₹1,000 crore was invested in the country's space sector in just about eight months, while the industry caters to nearly 450 MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) affirming Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of "Sabka Prayas" (Everyone’s Effort) during the "Amrit Kaal" (The Era of Elixir) period.

Mentioning that the share of India in the global space economy by 2030 is going to rise four times in comparison to 2021, the minister projected that the Indian space industry, which contributed 2 percent to global share in 2021, will rise to 8 percent in 2030 and further to 15 percent by 2047.

According to reports, amid the rising involvement of the private players in the space mission, India, presently, allows 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in the space sector.

Union minister Jitendra Singh said the private sector can offer new solutions to development of advanced small satellites, geospatial technologies, orbital transfer vehicles, etc.

As per Switzerland-based international think tank and lobbying organization World Economic Forum, India hopes that liberalised rules for the space sector, long controlled by the government, will draw interest from Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, among others, while the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy reform is expected to boost employment and will allow companies to set up manufacturing facilities in India.

According to an article published in the EY, the opening-up of the Indian space economy to the private sector has the potential to bridge the digital divide, usher in innovative spaced-based services and catapult the country to the forefront of the spacetech race.

India's spacetech sector, which was not that popular and was not much introduced to the world a few years ago as the country had only five spacetech start-ups in 2019, got a massive boom in 2022 as India witnessed its first private rocket launch by Hyderabad-based spacetech start-up Skyroot Aerospace.

The spacetech start-up ecosystem in India is thriving in 2023, with a diverse range of companies making substantial contributions to the industry, and the country now has nearly 200 spacetech start-ups and counting.

According to Fintech company CredAble, India’s space-tech start-up landscape has come a long way backed by the country’s liberalised space economy rules and actively supported by ISRO's space programmes.

Previously, FDI to the space sector was only allowed through the government approval route, and opening up the space economy to the private sector has ushered in innovative space-based services, reports CredAble.

India's space industry, with a 2 percent share in the global space economy, is presently valued at $8 billion.

In the last two decades, India has become the preferred destination for satellite launches having deployed 381 satellites for 34 countries, earning $279 million in revenues, as per CredAble.

Notable ISRO missions and achievements have not only marked a pivotal moment in the country’s space exploration initiatives but have also inspired a new generation of space enthusiasts and entrepreneurs, reports CredAble, adding that India's ambitious strides in space exploration point towards a projected space economy of $40 billion by 2040.

According to the Fintech company, recent technological advances have made it much easier and less expensive for businesses in India to venture into space and conduct missions, and an overall investment of $22 billion in the next 10 years will be crucial for achieving the projected fivefold growth and strengthening the India’s space-to-earth economy.

(With Inputs From Agencies)