NEW DELHI: In the 66th edition of his monthly radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat', Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that at a time the country is gradually unlocking the lockdown imposed to check the spread of coronavirus, India has also started "unlocking" various sectors like space, coal and agriculture. These reforms will spur growth in the country, he said.
Pointing at several reforms recently kicked off by his government, the PM says, "Amid the time of unlocking lockdown, India is also unlocking various sectors, which had remained chained for decades. For several years, India was in the lockdown in the coal sector. The clearance for commercial auction has changed the situation drastically.
A few days ago, historic decisions were taken in the space sector. With these reforms (of opening up the sector for private players and setting up a new space board), the space sector got rid of the lockdown that had not allowed it to prosper for years. Likewise, the farm sector too witnessed several reforms. The unlocking, on one hand, will allow freedom to farmers to sell their produce anywhere and to anybody and, on the other, will help them avail of more loans. With these 'historic' decisions, the country will not only work in the direction of becoming 'atmanirbhar', but the reforms will also open up new avenues for development in the country."
It is said that PM Narendra Modi was hell-bent on drastic reforms in the space sector as it's he who wanted the space sector to open up for all.
That's the reason that when the Union Cabinet last Wednesday decided to open up the sector for private players and allowed space entrepreneurs to use the country's space assets, the PM wrote a long note on social media that day.
Modi wrote, "India is among a handful of countries with advanced capabilities in the space sector. With these reforms, the sector will receive new energy and dynamism, to help the country leapfrog to the next stages of space activities. This will not only result in an accelerated growth of this sector but will enable Indian Industry to be an important player in global space economy. With this, there is an opportunity for large-scale employment in the technology sector and India becoming a global technology powerhouse. Space sector can play a major catalytic role in the technological advancement and expansion of our Industrial base. The proposed reforms will enhance the socio-economic use of space assets and activities, including through improved access to space assets, data and facilities."
"The newly created Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) will provide a level-playing field for private companies to use Indian space infrastructure. It will also hand-hold, promote and guide the private industries in space activities through encouraging policies and a friendly regulatory environment. The Public Sector Enterprise ‘New Space India Limited (NSIL)’ will endeavour to re-orient space activities from a ‘supply driven’ model to a ‘demand driven’ model, thereby ensuring optimum utilization of our space assets. These reforms will allow ISRO to focus more on research and development activities, new technologies, exploration missions and human spaceflight programme. Some of the planetary exploration missions will also be opened up to the private sector through an ‘announcement of opportunity’ mechanism," he wrote.
PM Modi has been showing special interest in the space sector since his first term in office. In fact, soon after his took over as PM in 2014, Modi had held a meeting of all ministries and departments and advised them to find new ways to use space applications in executing their infrastructure projects.
Due to his advice, over 100 ministries started using space applications for rolling out their projects. Whether it is housing, railways, tele-medicine, tele-education, geo-MGNREGS, soil health card, tracking delivery trucks, checking sand pilferage or for issuing utilisation certificates in infrastructure projects in northeast, the use of space applications became the new normal in the Modi government.
The PM was, however, not satisfied with these changes as he wanted more and more people to join the space sector and make the most of the country's space assets. Therefore, his government finally took the drastic step of opening up the sector for all, including private companies, entrepreneurs, youth and students.