‘Rs 1 lakh crore fund should finance only India-registered parent companies in deep technology’
Chennai, Feb 1 (IANS) Welcoming Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement on creation of a Rs 1 lakh crore corpus to fund technology companies, space sector officials are of the view the funding should be for deep tech companies.
They also said the funding should be only to India-registered parent companies and not to the Indian subsidiaries of overseas registered companies.
Presenting the Interim Budget for 2024, Sitharaman said: “A corpus of Rs one lakh crore will be established with fifty-year interest free loan. The corpus will provide long-term financing or refinancing with long tenors and low or nil interest rates
“This will encourage the private sector to scale up research and innovation significantly in sunrise domains. We need to have programmes that combine the powers of our youth and technology.”
She also said a new scheme will be launched for strengthening deep-tech technologies for defence purposes and expediting ‘atmanirbharta’ or self-reliance.
“It is really a welcome announcement by the Finance Minister. But before disbursing the loan, a proper and detailed scrutiny of the business proposal should be made. The government should also look at converting the loan into equity at a later stage,” Tapan Misra, Founding Director and Chief Scientist, Sisir Radar Private Ltd and a former Director at ISRO’s Space Applications Centre, told IANS.
Sisir Radar has developed a drone based synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and is also in the process of L/P band Continuous Wave SAR payload for LEO Small Satellites and unfurlable, electronically steering antenna for L/P band SAR payload for Indian Air Force.
Suyash Singh, Co-founder & CEO, GalaxEye Space Solutions Pvt Ltd, another space sector start-up, told IANS: “The funding from the corpus should be done only to the parent companies registered in India and not to the Indian subsidiaries of overseas registered companies.”
GalaxEye Space plans a high resolution multi payload microsatellite constellation, comprising optical and SAR payloads.
Singh also said if there has to be sectoral sub-limits for funding from the proposed corpus, then at least 20 per cent should be allocated for the space sector companies.
However, Misra said there need not be any sectoral sub-limits but the funding should be only for companies engaged in deep technology as the boundaries between space and air defence is vanishing.
“The corpus should fund only hardware players and not software players if India should be self-reliant,” Singh said.
Misra also said there are venture capital funds and angel investors to fund software ventures.
Both of them were of the view that the proposed scheme would bring in more players into the space sector.