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Industry bets on 100% automatic FDI in satellites

Firms have urged Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman to allow 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) through the automatic route to attract billions of dollars into the space/satellite broadband sectors. Some of these global satellite builders and communications service providers include companies such as Amazon, Elon Musk’s rocket engine maker SpaceX, Hughes and Telesat.

In a letter addressing the minister dated 28th May TV Ramachandran, president, Broadband India Forum (BIF) said, “The commercial satellite broadband segment is attracting billions of dollars across the globe from companies like SpaceX, Amazon, Hughes, Inmarsat, Telesat and Viasat, and to attract this investment into India, we recommend 100% FDI be allowed under the automatic route.”

The intention behind the suggestion is to allow top global players to set up Indian private companies for participation in space activities. This proposal follows the minister’s statement that there would be a level-playing field for private satellite builders, launchers and space-based service providers to invest aggressively in India, with a new policy and regulatory regime.

What has so far slowed down the adoption of big-ticket FDI proposals for years is the fact that at present, all FDI proposals in the satellites space are screened by the Department of Space (DoS) and its internal panel.