Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman delivered the Union Budget speech in the Lok Sabha on Friday. In her speech, Sitharaman spoke about the Indian Space Research Organization's (ISRO)'s new public sector enterprise (PSU), New Space India Limited (NSIL).
Citing India's historic achievements from launching rockets, satellites and other space products, Sitharaman asserted that India has gained a foothold as a major space power:
"Time has come to harness India's space abilities commercially." she said.
In addition, she also said that the budget meant for ISRO has significantly grown and crossed the Rs 10,000 crore mark:
"Annual budget has crossed Rs 10,000 crore ($1.45 billion), growing steadily from Rs 6,000 crore five years ago."
Sitharaman went on and said that the new commercial arm of the Department of Space will tap the benefits of the research and development which are carried out by ISRO. In addition, Sitharaman also said the new company will spearhead the commercialization of the numerous space products. It will also commercialize the launch vehicles, transfer of technology and marketing of space products.
The NSIL will exclusively work on small satellite technology transfer to industry, manufacturing Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), a product which is being developed by the ISRO, in collaboration with the private sector and by production of PSLV through Indian industry. ISRO's new venture will also bring in marketing for space-based products and services, including launch and application, developed by ISRO centres and the constituent units of the Department of Space and marketing spin-off technologies and products and services both in India and abroad.
This development was earlier confirmed by Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh who had shared the information through his written statement in Rajya Sabha. The NSIL will benefit and enable the Indian Industries to scale up high-technology for manufacturing products which will meet the evergrowing needs of the Indian space program.
"It would further spur the growth of Indian industries in the space sector." said Singh.
Another add-on is Antrix Ltd, a PSU under the Department of Space that acts as a commercial arm of the ISRO. Earlier, ISRO had announced it plans to have its own space station. The plans were announced by K Sivan, Director of ISRO, at a joint briefing with MoS PMO Dr Jitendra Singh on June 13. The move comes as an extension of Gaganyaan - India's first indigenous manned mission to space which is planned to launch in 2022. With this massive pronouncement and the increase in ambition it entails, ISRO is surging forward by leaps and bounds.
In her speech, the Finance Minister also proposed to issue Aadhar cards to NRIs. She also said that NRI investment in the country would be made much easier by merging NRI portfolio route with foreign portfolio investment.
(With PTI inputs)