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Centre to introduce Commercial Space Activities Bill

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Mains Paper 3: Governance| Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Space Activities Bill 2017

Mains level: Regulating private space activities in India


News

  • The Centre is likely to introduce a Bill to commercialise space activities in the budget session this year.

Space Activities Bill 2017

  1. It is a proposed Bill to promote and regulate the space activities of India.
  2. The Bill aims to facilitate the overall growth of space activities in India with higher order participation of public, non-governmental and private sector stakeholders.
  3. The Bill encourages the participation of non-governmental/private sector agencies in space activities in India under the guidance and authorisation of the government through the Department of Space.
  4. As few start-ups in India have shown interest in space activities there is an urgent need for a legal environment for orderly performance and growth of space sector.
  5. It will help the Centre establish a regulatory mechanism through an appropriate body to authorize and license space activities.

Key Propositions of the Bill

  1. The provisions of this Act shall apply to every citizen of India and to all sectors engaged in any space activity in India or outside India
  2. A non-transferable licence shall be provided by the Central Government to any person carrying out commercial space activity
  3. The Central Government will formulate the appropriate mechanism for licencing, eligibility criteria, and fees for licence.
  4. The government will maintain a register of all space objects (any object launched or intended to be launched around the earth) and develop more space activity plans for the country
  5. It will provide professional and technical support for commercial space activity and regulate the procedures for conduct and operation of space activity
  6. It will ensure safety requirements and supervise the conduct of every space activity of India and investigate any incident or accident in connection with the operation of a space activity.
  7. It will share details about the pricing of products created by space activity and technology with any person or any agency in a prescribed manner.
  8. If any person undertakes any commercial space activity without authorisation they shall be punished with imprisonment up to 3 years or fined more than ₹1 crore or both.

Issues with the Bill

  1. The Bill does not address space-based activities separately.
  2. Instead, it tries to cover large swaths of the space value chain in one go.
  3. In fact, the very definition of “space activity” could throw up complications.
  4. The definition puts every space object under its ambit, meaning even hardware that carries GPS receivers could require a license.
  5. The Bill could also affect navigation services provided by companies such as Google Maps, Ola and Uber.

Navigate to this page for additional readings:

[Burning Issue] Draft Space Activity Bill 2017

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