q-isro-should-embrace-a-civilian-identity-and-aided-by-legislation-form-partnerships-with-the-industry-and-entrepreneurs-in-order-to-excel-in-the-future-discuss

Q) ISRO should embrace a civilian identity and, aided by legislation, form partnerships with the industry and entrepreneurs in order to excel in the future. Discuss.

Why this Question:

ISRO has put Brazil’s Amazonia – I into orbit.

Key Demand of the Question:

Major challenges for ISRO in the future and measures needed to combat them.

Directive:

Discuss- back up the answer by carefully selected evidence to make a case for and against an argument, or point out the advantages and disadvantages of the given context and finally arrive at a conclusion.

Introduction:

Give an introduction about the achievements of ISRO in India. 

Body:

In the first part, highlight the challenges that the ISRO has been facing- resource crunch, lack of private participation, etc.

In the next part, highlight the measures needed to overcome these concerns.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward. 

Model Answer

From a modest beginning in the 1960s, India’s space programme has grown steadily, achieving significant milestones. These include fabrication of satellites, space-launch vehicles, and a range of associated capabilities. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s annual budget has crossed ₹10,000 crore, growing steadily from ₹6,000 crore a few years ago. 

However, demand for space-based services in India is far greater than what ISRO can supply. This is mainly due to the limited capacity of ISRO as it faces certain limitations:

  1. Private Sector Participation- While space exploration today remains a key initiative at a country level and is part of the government agenda, however providing opportunities to private companies for space exploration and satellite launches is essential to reduce the burden of the government.
  2. Resource Crunch- ISRO has been facing a major issue of resource crunch owing to the limited budgetary allocation. At times the agency is severely constrained to meet the ever-increasing demands from over 60 central departments, 28 states, and thousands of private sector companies.
  3. Global share- Despite ISRO’s impressive capabilities, India’s share at global level is estimated at $7 billion (just 2% of the global market) covering broadband and Direct-to-Home television (accounting for two-thirds of the share), satellite imagery and navigation.
  4. Legislation- Development of the space sector requires a comprehensive legislation from the government addressing all aspects. Currently there is no such legislation in India. In 2020, ISRO released the Draft Spacecom Policy to specify rules for private sector entities participating in space technology. 

Way Forward 

  1. Increasing the private sector participation in the space sector to ease the burden on ISRO. 
  2. Increasing the budgetary allocation for the organisation. 
  3. Collaboration with other countries for newer technologies. 
  4. A comprehensive policy regulating the space sector. 
  5. New Space law for India aimed at facilitating growing India’s share in the global space economy to 10% in the coming decade.
  6. Establish partnerships with the industry and entrepreneurs. 

The ISRO has the potential to make India a space superpower. Hence, it is important for all the stakeholders in the space sector to take India as a technical powerhouse at the global level so that very soon India can lead the global community in the technological area.