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Centre notifies liberalised norms for FDI in space sector
Photo courtesy: ISRO Twitter page video grab

Centre notifies liberalised norms for FDI in space sector

| @indiablooms | 17 Apr 2024, 11:04 pm

New Delhi: The government on Wednesday notified changes to the foreign direct investment regulations in the space sector, aiming to attract international investors into satellite manufacturing and satellite launch vehicle sectors.

The amendments, outlined in a gazette notification dated April 16, 2024, introduce a more accessible entry route and offer clear guidelines for foreign investment in satellites, launch vehicles, and related systems or subsystems.

The amendments facilitate the establishment of spaceports for spacecraft launches and receptions, as well as the production of components and systems for space activities.

"These rules may be called the Foreign Exchange Management (Non-debt Instruments) (Third Amendment) Rules, 2024," the gazette notification said.

The revised policy's expanded entry options aim to lure potential investors to Indian space companies.

The Union Cabinet approved these amendments on February 22 this year.

The notification's timing precedes the scheduled visit of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who is expected to meet with various Indian space firms during his stay from April 21 to 22.

Under the amended rules, the satellite sub-sector has been divided into three different activities with defined limits for foreign investment in each such sector.

According to the notification, automatic route permits up to 74 percent FDI for satellite manufacturing and operation, satellite data products, and ground segment and user segment. Activities beyond this threshold fall under the government route.

Up to 49% FDI under automatic route would be permitted for launch vehicles and associated systems or subsystems, the creation of spaceports for launching and receiving spacecraft. Beyond 49%, these activities are under the government route.

In the manufacturing of components and systems/ sub-systems for satellites, ground segment, and user segment, FDI up to 100% will be permitted under automatic route.

Meanwhile, approvals for Musk's Starlink satellite internet project are nearing finalisation, said media reports.

Elon Musk to meet Indian space sector startups

Economic Times (ET) reported that the Indian government has extended an invitation to the founders of various spacetech startups, including Agnikul Cosmos, Bellatrix Aerospace, Skyroot Aerospace, Dhruva Space, Pixxel, SatSure, and Digantara, to meet with Elon Musk, the chief of Tesla and SpaceX, in New Delhi on Monday.

Startups such as Pixxel and Digantara have previously used SpaceX's rockets for the launch of their satellites.

A delegation comprising startup executives and officials from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently visited SpaceX's facilities in Hawthorne, California, as part of the US Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Programme.

The main agenda during Musk’s visit will be satcom venture Starlink and electric car maker Tesla, the startups told ET.

For the unversed, Starlink is a satellite constellation managed by Starlink Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SpaceX.

It offers internet coverage across more than 70 countries and aims to provide global mobile broadband services.

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