India's Space Policy

The fundamental aim of the Policy Frame-work for Satellite Communications in India approved by the Cabinet is to develop a healthy and thriving communications satellite and ground equipment industry as well as satellite communications service industry in India. Also, use and further development of the capabilities built in India in the area of satellites, launch vehicles and ground equipment design and sustaining these capabilities is an equally important aim. Making available the infrastructure built through INSAT to a larger segment of the economy and population is another corner stone of the Policy. Encouraging the private sector investment in the space industry in India and attracting foreign investments in this area are other specific goals. The norms, guidelines and procedures have been evolved so as to help reach these aims and goals. 

The Frame-work for Satellite Communication Policy in India as approved by Government in 1997 is as follows:

  1. Authorise INSAT capacity to be leased to non-government (Indian and foreign) parties following certain well defined norms.
  2.  Allow Indian parties to provide services including TV uplinking through Indian Satellites, subject to certain terms and conditions which are to be spelt out.
  3.  Authorise Indian Administration in consultation with Department of Space and other concerned regulatory authorities to inform, notify, co-ordinate and register satellite systems and networks by and for Indian private parties following certain well defined and transparent norms. The satellite systems of all Government agencies to be established by Department of Space. 
  4. (a) Operation from Indian soil with foreign satellites may be allowed only in special cases to be notified. These may be in the case of overseas services using international inter-governmental systems, systems owned and operated by Indian Parties but registered in other countries before rules for registrations have been formulated in India, international private systems where there is a substantial Indian participation by way of equity or in kind contribution and where considered necessary reciprocal arrangements could be worked out with the country/countries of registration or ownership. 
    (b) While operations from Indian soil may be allowed with both Indian and foreign Satellites, proposals envisaging use of the Indian satellites will be accorded preferential treatment. 
    (c) Satellite broadcasting including Direct to Home (DTH) TV broadcasting, may be licensed by the Licensing Authority constituted under the relevant statute, on Indian Satellite 
    Systems or any other satellite system, excepting those prohibited for the purpose by the competent authority, notified by the Central Government in this regard, on technical or 
    security considerations. In cases where operations of services with foreign satellites are licensed, the Licensing Authority at the time of renewal or re-issue of licenses for these services, will require the licensee to opt for the Indian Satellite System subject to availability of capacity which meets the requirement of the service.  
    (d) Department of Space should ensure that the various provisions of the Policy would conform to the proposed Broadcasting Law.
  5. Suitably take into account the above policy in the regulations and the laws that may be evolved in the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors. 

Recognising that Remote Sensing data provides much essential and critical 
information - which is an input for developmental activities at different levels, and is also of benefit to society.

Noting that a large number of users - both within and outside government, use Remote Sensing data from Indian and foreign remote sensing satellites for various developmental applications.

Taking into consideration the recent availability of very high-resolution images, from foreign and commercial remote sensing satellites, and noting the need for proper and better management of the data acquisition/ distribution from these satellites in India.

Recognising that national interest is paramount, and that security consideration of the country needs to be given utmost importance.

The Government of India adopts the Remote Sensing Data Policy (RSDP) -
2011 containing modalities for managing and/ or permitting the acquisition / dissemination of remote sensing data in support of developmental activities. 
Department of Space (DOS) of the Government of India shall be the nodal  agency for all actions under this policy, unless otherwise stated. 

  1. For operating a remote sensing satellite from India, license and/ or permission of the Government, through the nodal agency, shall be necessary.
    • As a national commitment and as a “public good”, Government assures a continuous and improved observing/ imaging capability from its own Indian Remote Sensing Satellites (IRS) programme.
    • The Government, through the nodal agency, shall be the sole and exclusive owner of all data collected/ received from IRS. All users will be provided with only a license to use the said data, and add value to the satellite data.
    • Government reserves the right to impose control over imaging tasks and distribution of data from IRS or any other Indian remote sensing satellite, when it is of the opinion that national security and/ or international obligations and/ or foreign policies of the Government so require.
  2. For acquisition/ distribution of remote sensing data within India, license/ permission from the Government of India, through the nodal agency, shall be necessary.
    • Government reserves the right to select and permit agencies to acquire/ distribute satellite remote sensing data in India. DOS shall be competent to decide on the procedure for granting license/ permission for dissemination of such data, and for the levy of necessary fees.
    • To cater to the developmental needs of the country, the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)/ DOS is vested with the authority to acquire and disseminate all satellite remote sensing data in India, both from Indian and foreign satellites.
      • NRSC shall enter into appropriate arrangements with DOS for acquiring/ distributing data from IRS within the visibility circle of NRSC’s receiving station(s).
      • NRSC and/ or Antrix Corporation Ltd., shall be competent to enter into agreements with foreign satellite operator(s) for acquisition/distribution of foreign satellite data in India. However, NRSC will distribute the data as per terms agreed to with Antrix Corporation Ltd.
    • NRSC shall maintain a systematic National Remote Sensing Data Archive, and a log of all acquisitions/ sales of data for all satellites.
  3. For acquisition and distribution of IRS data for use in countries other than India, the Government of India, through the nodal agency, shall grant license to such bodies/ agencies of those countries as are interested in the acquisition/ distribution of IRS data, as per specific procedures.
    • The Antrix Corporation Ltd. (of DOS) is vested with the authority for receiving the applications for grant of license for acquisition/ distribution of IRS data outside of India; to consider and decide on the granting of license within the policy considerations of the Government, and to enter into licensing agreements with the prospective users on behalf of the Government. Antrix Corporation Ltd. shall also be competent to levy such fees for granting licenses as may be considered appropriate by it. It shall also be responsible, where necessary, for rendering any further help/ guidance needed by the license.
    • The Government reserves right to impose restrictions over imaging tasks and distribution of IRS data in any country when it is of the opinion that national security and/ or international obligations and/ or foreign policies of the Government so require.
  4. The Government prescribes the following guidelines to be adopted for dissemination of satellite remote sensing data in India:
    • All data of resolutions up to 1 m shall be distributed on a non-discriminatory basis and on “as requested basis”
    • With a view to protect national security interests, all data of better than 1 m resolution shall be screened and cleared by the appropriate agency prior to distribution; and the following procedure shall be followed:
      1. Government users namely, Ministries/ Departments/ Public Sector/ Autonomous Bodies/ Government R&D institutions/ Government Educational/ Academic Institutions, can obtain the data without any further clearance.
      2. Private sector agencies, recommended at least by one Government agency, for supporting development activities, can obtain the data without any further clearance.
      3. Private sector agencies, recommended at least by one Government agency, for supporting development activities, can obtain the data without any further clearance.
      4. Specific requests for data of sensitive areas, by any user, can be serviced only after obtaining clearance from the HRC.
      5. Specific sale/ non-disclosure agreements to be concluded between NRSC and other users for data of better than 1 m resolution.
  5. This Policy (RSDP-2011) comes into effect immediately, and may be reviewed from time-to-time-by Government.