Import expenses 12 times of export earning in space-technology sector

During FY 2021-22, items worth ₹2,114.00 crore were imported whereas an amount of ₹174.9 crore was generated from exports

February 09, 2023 01:05 am | Updated 01:15 am IST - NEW DELHI

Representational file image.

Representational file image. | Photo Credit: PTI

There’s a wide chasm between expenses on imports and earnings from exports in the space technology industry, suggests data made public as part of a response by Space Minister (in-charge) Jitendra Singh, in the Lok Sabha on February 8.

In response to a question by DMK MP Kanimozhi Karunanidhi on the “..details of total imports and exports carried out in space tech based industry in the country,” Mr. Singh said that in the financial year 2021-22, items worth ₹2,114.00 crore were imported for executing various projects and programmes whereas an amount of ₹174.9 crore was generated from exports. This means that import expenses are 12 times the export earning in space-technology sector.

The major imported items include electronic and electrical engineering components, high-strength carbon fibres, space-qualified solar cells, detectors, optics and power amplifiers among others. During the financial year 2021-22, an amount of ₹174.90 crore was generated from exporting launch services, data sales and in-orbit support services and post-launch operations.

ISRO earned approximately ₹1,100 crore in the last five years from the launch of foreign satellites, Mr. Singh had told Rajya Sabha in December in response to a query.

In recent years, the government has laid considerable emphasis on encouraging private sector start-ups to offer services in sectors such as mapping, geospatial analysis, making satellites and venturing into launches—the latter two being the exclusive preserve of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe), expected to be an organisation that will facilitate the growth of the industry and liaison with the ISRO, has received applications from 135 non-government entities (NGEs, including companies) in the space sector, said Mr. Singh.

A new ‘seed fund’ scheme had been approved by the IN-SPACe board to provide initial financial assistance to Indian space start-ups. A revised FDI (foreign direct investment) policy in space sector to facilitate overseas investment in NGEs and a National Space Policy were in the process of final approval of the government, Mr. Singh added.

Ahead of the Union Budget announcements last week, the Satcom Industry Association of India had demanded a production-linked incentive scheme, a concessional tax regime and Goods and Services Tax (GST) incentives to aid the industry.

IN-SPACe had been allocated ₹95 crore in the Budget, a jump from ₹21 crore that it is expected to spend in the current financial year. The total allocation for the Department of Space was ₹12,543 crore.

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