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Government of India
Prime Minister's Office
11 OCT 2021 1:45PM by PIB Delhi
English rendering of Prime Minister’s address at launch of Indian Space Association

Listening to your plans and vision and looking at your excitement, my enthusiasm has also grown even more.

Friends,

Today is also the birth anniversary of two great sons of the country, Bharat Ratna Shri Jayaprakash Narayan ji and Bharat Ratna Shri Nanaji Deshmukh. Both these great personalities had an important role in giving direction to post-independence India. Their philosophy of life to bring about important changes in the nation by taking everyone along and with everybody’s efforts continues to inspire us. I bow to Jayaprakash Narayan ji and Nanaji Deshmukh ji and pay my tributes.

Friends,

It is the unwavering belief in India’s potential that India of the 21st century is moving forward and undertaking reforms. India's strength is not less than the major countries of the world. It is the responsibility of our government to remove every obstacle which comes in front of this potential and, therefore, the government is leaving no stone unturned. There has never been such a decisive government in India as it is today. The major reforms in the space sector and space tech in India are examples of this. I once again congratulate all of you for the formation of the Indian Space Association (ISpA) and convey my best wishes.

Friends,

When we talk of space reforms, our approach is based on four pillars. First, the freedom of innovation to the private sector; second, the role of the government as an enabler;  third, to prepare the youth for the future; and fourth, to see the space sector as a resource for the progress of the common man. The foundation of all these four pillars in itself opens the door to extraordinary possibilities.

Friends,

You will also acknowledge that earlier the space sector meant the government! But we first changed this mindset, and then gave the mantra of cooperation between the government and startups for innovation in the space sector. This new approach and the new mantra is necessary because now there is no time for linear innovation in India. This is the time for exponential innovation. And this will be possible when the government will play the role of enabler and not handler. Therefore, the government is sharing its expertise from defense to space sector to provide launch pads for the private sector. Now ISRO is being opened for the private sector. It will be ensured that the technology which has matured in this sector is also transferred to the private sector. The government will also play the role of aggregator for space assets and services so that our young innovators do not have to spend time and energy to buy equipment.

Friends,

The country has also established IN-SPACe to facilitate private sector participation. IN-SPACe will act as a single window independent agency in all matters related to the space sector. This will give more momentum to the private sector players and their projects.

Friends,

Our space sector is a major medium for the progress of 130 crore countrymen. For us, the space sector means better mapping, imaging and connectivity facilities for the common people; better speed from shipment to delivery for entrepreneurs; better forecast, security and income for the farmers and fishermen; better monitoring of the ecology and environment; accurate forecast of natural disasters; and protection of millions of lives. These goals of the country have now become a common goal of the Indian Space Association as well.

Friends,

If the country is witnessing so many reforms simultaneously it is because the vision of the country is clear now. This vision is of AatmaNirbhar Bharat. AatmaNirbhar Bharat campaign is not just a vision but also a well-thought, well-planned, integrated economic strategy. It is a strategy that will make India a global manufacturing powerhouse by enhancing the capabilities of the skills of India's entrepreneurs and the youth. A strategy that will make India a global center of innovations based on India's technological expertise. A strategy that will play a major role in global development, enhancing the prestige of India's human resources and talent globally. Therefore, while creating the regulatory environment, India is taking great care that both the interest of the country and the stakeholders is given priority. India has already opened up sectors like defence, coal and mining under the AatmaNirbhar Bharat campaign. The government is moving ahead with a clear policy regarding public sector enterprises and is opening most of these sectors to private enterprises where the government is not required. The recent decision regarding Air India demonstrates our commitment and seriousness.

Friends,

Over the years, our focus has been on research and development related to new technology, as well as making them accessible to the general public. In the last seven years, we have made space technology an important tool for last mile delivery, leakage-free and transparent governance.  Space technology is helping to make governance proactive and transparent at every level whether it is geo-tagging of the housing units of the poor, roads and other infrastructure projects, monitoring of development works through satellite imagery, faster claim settlement under the crop insurance scheme, help to crores of fishermen through the NAVIC system, or planning related to disaster management.

Friends,

Digital technology is another example of how change can happen when technology is accessible to all. If India is among the top digital economies of the world today, it is because we have made the power of data accessible to the poorest of the poor. Therefore, when we explore the space for cutting edge technology, we have to keep in mind the citizens who are at the bottom of society. We have to bear in mind that we have to provide better remote healthcare, better virtual education, better and effective protection from natural disasters and many such solutions to every section and region of the country, to the poorest of the poor in the remotest villages through future technology.  And we all are aware that space technology can contribute a lot in this regard.

Friends,

India is among the few countries in the world that has end-to-end space capability. We have mastered all aspects of space technology from satellites, launch vehicles, applications to inter-planetary missions. We have made efficiency an important part of our brand. Today, when we are moving from information age to space age, we have to further strengthen the brand value of this efficiency. We have to constantly promote efficiency and affordability be it the process of space exploration or the application of space technology. Our stake in the global space sector is bound to increase when we move forward with our strength. From being a supplier of space components, we now have to become a part of the end-to-end space systems supply chain. This is possible only with the partnership of all the stakeholders. As a partner, the government is supporting the industry, young innovators, start-ups at every level and will continue to do so.

Friends,

A platform approach is very important to develop a strong ecosystem of start-ups. The approach should be such where an open access public controlled platform is made by the government and then it is made available to industry and enterprises. Entrepreneurs create new solutions on that basic platform. The government first created the UPI platform for digital payments. Today the network of fintech start-ups is getting stronger on this platform. A similar platform approach is being encouraged in the space sector as well. There is a huge support for start-ups and the private sector from every such platform whether it is access to ISRO's facilities, IN-SPACe or the NewSpace India Limited. The rules and regulations related to the Geo-spatial mapping sector have also been simplified so that start-ups and private enterprises can explore new possibilities. Similar platforms are being developed regarding drones, so that drone technology can be used in different sectors.

Friends,

Today (October 11) also happens to be International Day of the Girl Child. Who among us can forget those images of the Mars Mission of India, when the women scientists of India were celebrating the success of this mission? I am sure that the reforms taking place in the space sector will further increase women participation in this sector.

Friends,

Today all of you have given suggestions on other issues as well. Your inputs and suggestions have come at a time when the Spacecom policy and remote sensing policy is in the final stages of culmination. I am sure that the country will get a better policy very soon with the active engagement of all the stakeholders.

Friends,

The decisions and the policy reforms that we take today will have an impact on the future generations for the next 25 years. We have seen how the trend of ruling space in the 20th century divided the countries of the world. Now India will have to ensure that space plays an important role in uniting the world in the 21st century. The contribution of all of us will be important when India will scale new heights on the occasion of the 100 years of its independence. We have to move forward with this sense of responsibility. With the belief that we will take the immense possibilities of the cutting edge technology in space to new heights in the interest of the people and the nation, best wishes to you!

Thanks!

DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of PM’s speech. Original speech was delivered in Hindi.

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DS/VK/AK