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India’s ‘space economy’ valued at ₹36,794 crore

A collaboration between two premier research and educational institutions in Thiruvananthapuram has shed interesting light on India’s “space economy”, the exact contours of which have remained largely vague even as the country’s space programme grew by leaps and bounds.

In a first-of-its kind attempt at measuring the size of India's space economy, researchers from the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) and the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) arrived at a figure of Rs. 36,794 more (approximately $5 billion) for tire 2020-21 fiscal. The estimated size of India's space economy, as a percentage of the GDP, has slipped from 0.26% 2011-12 to 0.19% in 2020-21, they found.

The findings, outlined in a paper 'The Space Economy of India: Its Size and Structure' by CDS director Sunil Mani; V. K. Dadhwal, till recently Director of IIST; and Shaijumon C. S., Associate Professor of Economics, IIST, were the subject of a webinar on Saturday.

By employing internationally-accepted frameworks, the authors have examined the annual budget for the space programme and its constituents; space manufacturing, operations and application. According to the paper, space applications accounted for the major chunk of this evolving economy, constituting 73.57% (Rs 27061 crore) of it in 2020-21, followed by space operations (Rs 8218.82 crore or 22.31%) and manufacturing (Rs 1515.59 crore or 4.12%).

The budget outlay for space has considerable influence on the dynamics of the space economy, according to the study. "India's space economy has evolved considerably and now accounts, on an average, for about 0.23% of the GDP (over 2011-12 to 2020-21). We have also noticed a decline in the budget for space-related activities, leading to a reduction in the size of the economy in the last two years," prof. Mani said. The budget outlay in 2020-21 was Rs 9,500 crore, shrinking from Rs 13,033.2 crore in the previous fiscal. The estimated size of the space economy shrunk from Rs 43,397 crore in 2018-19 to Rs 39,802 crore in 2019-20 and Rs 36,794 crore in 2020-21.


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