Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement at the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) event on Tuesday (June 2) to open up space and atomic energy for private investment comes as a piece of positive news for the Indian startup ecosystem.
“Strategic sectors like space and atomic energy are now open for India’s entrepreneurs. Today, possibilities have been opened for private players in the space and atomic sectors. Their participation in strategic sectors has become a reality,” Modi said.
Last month, the government had announced that it is looking to come up with a policy to ease the regulatory environment for ISRO programmes and space missions. For this, the government is planning to allow spacetech startups and private companies to use the facilities technologies developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
At the same time, spacetech startups will be able to work on projects such as space exploration and outer space programmes. Meanwhile, the government is soon expected to come up with a liberal geospatial data policy for providing startups with remote sensing data. The remote sensing data helps organisations to gather information about extra-terrestrial objects floating in space.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that Indian private sector will be a major participant in India’s space journey. “The government is going to provide a level playing field for private companies which can facilitate satellite making, launches and other space-related activities.”
According to Datalabs by Inc42, there are about 120 active startups in the startups in the spacetech segment in India. These numbers have increased dramatically since 2014 as around 64% of space or aerospace startups were launched in or after 2014.
India Opens Nuclear Energy Space For Startups
At the same time, Sitharaman had announced that the government is opening up the nuclear/atomic energy sector to private players. However, the government has decided to allow private enterprises which are working on applications like medicine, agriculture and nuclear research as atomic space is highly sensitive.
With this, the government is planning to increase the participation of startups which are finding the application of atomic energy for developing medical isotopes for cancer treatment and irradiation technology for the agriculture sector.
Sitharaman also announced that the startup ecosystem will be onboarded to the nuclear space through technology development cum incubation centres.
Meanwhile, the government is looking to set up research reactors in public-private partnership (PPP). These reactors are expected to be used for irradiation technology for food preservation that’ll complement agricultural reforms to assist farmers.