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Draft of country’s first Space Law unveiled

24-11-2017 10:02 AM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream

Draft of country’s first Space Law unveiled | My Indian Dream

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New Bill proposed in wake of an increased participation of private sector industry and startups.

A new Bill – the Space Activities Bill, 2017 that for the first time, stipulates licenses for all space-related players and activities has been proposed and will go before the Parliament.  It shields the government against any liability arising out of harm that these commercial activities may cause — to people, environment, other countries or outer space. It also lays down penalties of ₹1 crore and above and jail terms for violations.

So far, all activities of the national space agency ISRO  were governed by the Satellite Communication Policy, 2000; the Remote Sensing Data Policy, 2011; and international treaty obligations on outer space activities as mandated by the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space or UNCOPUOS.

As per the new bill, the government will form a new authorised body to deliver licenses and will keep a registry of all space objects.

The draft has been posted on the website of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and comments are invited from stakeholders.

A notification issued by the Department of Space explains the need for Space Law. It says increasing applications of Space-based solutions have meant an increased participation of private sector industry and start-ups giving rise to a necessary legal environment for orderly performance and growth of space sector.

According to a senior DoS official, there was never a need for such a law as ISRO was the sole player. However, now, many Indian and foreign companies, as well as Indian startups, are getting involved in space-related activities. Hence it is imperative to have a regulatory mechanism and law to govern these activities.

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