Budget 2019: Antrix Corp likely to be replaced by NSIL

Budget 2019: Antrix Corp likely to be replaced by NSIL”

In a major boost to India's space research sector, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday announced that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will have a new commercial arm, New Space India Limited (NSIL), to help the Indian space agency commercialise its launch vehicle and other state of the art technologies in the global space market.

Currently, ISRO's various programs that stand to benefit from this move, include small satellite technology transfer to various industries, manufacture of small satellite launch vehicle (SLV) in collaboration with the private sector, along with productionisation of Polar SLV through the industry. "India has emerged as a major space power with the technology and ability to launch satellites and other space products at globally low cost".

The Budget Estimates for Department of Space for FY 2019-20 is Rs12,473.26 crore compared to the RE of Rs11,200 crore in FY 2018-19.

She said the new company NSIL will tap the benefits of the research and development (R&D) carried out by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

She also said that a new public sector undertaking has been opened to further harness the ability of space technologies commercially.

ISRO's annual budget has crossed Rs 10,000 crore ($1.45 billion), growing steadily from Rs 6,000 crore five years ago. The FM said that "the time has come" for India to harness its space technology commercially.

In 1961, the Government of India entrusted the responsibility for space research and for the peaceful use of outer space to the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), then under the leadership of Dr. Homi J. Bhabha.

These functions are now performed by Antrix Corporation, a fully-owned government company which functions under the administrative control of the Department of Space.

The larger aim would be to scale up the industry participation in space programmes.

This month, ISRO is expected to test its Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), which will be a key platform for its commercial satellite-launching services.

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