Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday acknowledged the work being done in the space sector by private Indian companies. In a bid to open up a level playing field for private and start-up sector companies eager to be part of Indian space missions, the minister announced assistance to them from ISRO’s data assets.
In the coming days, a special geospatial data policy will be released by the government of India which will help tech companies in the country to use satellite-based data collected by ISRO to develop different apps and technologies that would benefit the nation.
ISRO confirmed the news on its Instagram handle as well.
Until now, Indian companies that were, for instance, working on agricultural or geo-positioning apps have been emptying their pockets, trying to mine out data from international sources.
But, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi planning to go bullish on making India “aatma-nirbhar” (self-sufficient), the new geospatial data policy will save Indian tech companies a lot of money, because all the data they need will be made available to them from the country's space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
As of December 2019, India has had 17 national-level geospatial policies and rules (four in the draft stage) under six ministries and departments – that are not bonded by an agreement even with each other to share data collected by them or withing their agencies.
A national geospatial policy has been under construction in India since 2015, which is expected to be released soon now that Sitharaman has confirmed aid to Indian tech players concerning space-collected data for their use.
ISRO has over sixty space missions in its kitty for the next five years, including deep space explorations on Mars and Venus along with a second-landing attempt on the lunar surface.
One of ISRO’s main missions for 2020-2021 is “Gaganyaan”- a manned mission which will send a three-member crew to orbit around the lower parts of Earth.