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Recommendations on Draft Satellite Navigation Policy 2021

Vibrant satellite image depicting AnantLaw policy recommendation on draft satellite navigation policy by Government of India

The Department of Space (“DoS”) has undertaken the commendable initiative of promotion and development of domestic satellite-based navigation and augmentation services in India. In furtherance of the same, the DoS, on July 29, 2021, released a draft Indian Satellite Navigation Policy 2021 (“Draft Policy”) for public consultation.

The Draft Policy has been formulated with the objective to address the growing demands of space-based navigation and timing applications, with the view of promoting self-sustenance in areas of commercial, strategic, and societal applications to maximise the socio-economic benefits. The aim of the policy is to “achieve self-reliance in satellite-based navigation and augmentation services with emphasis on assuring availability & quality, enhancing usage, working towards progressive evolution of the services and promoting research & development.” It is reported that the Indian space economy is valued at USD 7 billion, which is approximately 2% of the global space economy. Of this, upstream activities (launcher and satellite manufacturing) contribute USD 2.3 billion and downstream activities (space applications and research) contribute USD 4.7 billion.

Further, the Draft Policy also aims to focus on domestic technology development for enhancing navigation satellite systems and working towards compatibility and interoperability of Indian satellite navigation and augmentation signals with other Global Navigation Satellite System (“GNSS”) and Satellite Based Augmentation Systems signals (“SBAS”).

In line with the objectives of the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative, the Draft Policy recognizes the nature of services provided by space based navigation systems as ‘public goods’ and aims to ensure continuity of Navigation with Indian Constellation (“NavIC”) and GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (“GAGAN”) services. Further, the Draft Policy also recognizes the need for upgrading such systems and ensuring their capability to operate in conjecture with global systems such as GNSS/SBAS.

In light of the fast-paced evolution of satellite navigation policies across major jurisdictions and the ever growing need for a regulation in this sector, we appreciate the initiative taken by DoS to come up with a robust policy in order to better govern this sector. Having undertaken an analysis of the regulatory and legal aspects of the Indian space sector and comparing the existing framework with foreign jurisdictions, we submit our views and observations on the Draft Policy through the present recommendations (“Our Recommendations”).

Our Recommendations on the Draft Policy are divided in three parts. In PART A, we examine the legislative and regulatory history of the space sector in India. In PART B, we examine in detail, the established satellite navigation policies in certain international jurisdictions. In PART C, we encapsulate our specific recommendations on the provisions of the Draft Policy.

010921 AL PR - Satellite Navigation
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