By Staff Correspondent
The Central Government has undertaken a series of reform measures to promote India’s upcoming drone industry which are as follows:
(i) Drones Rules, 2021 notified on 25 August 2021 provide the necessary regulatory framework for commercial use of drones. These rules cover various aspects like type certification, registration and operation of drones, airspace restrictions, research, development and testing of drones, training and licensing, offences and penalties etc.
(ii) Drone Airspace Map published on 24th September 2021, has opened nearly 90% of Indian airspace as a green zone for drone flying up to 400 feet.
(iii) On 30th September, 2021, the Government notified the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme to promote the growth of drone manufacturing by private companies. The scheme provides for an incentive of Rs 120 crores, spread over three financial years. The PLI rate is 20% of the value addition over three financial years.
(iv) UAS Traffic Management (UTM) Policy Framework was published on 24th October 2021.
(v) Drone certification scheme was notified on 26th January 2022, making it easier to obtain type certificate by drone manufacturers.
(vi) Drone import policy was notified on 9th February 2022, banning import of foreign drones and freeing up import of drone components.
(vii) Drone (Amendment) Rules, 2022 notified on 11th February 2022, abolished the requirement of a drone pilot license.
(viii) Guidelines for operation of Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for drone and drone components was notified on 29th November 2022.
Ministry of Civil Aviation has proactively engaged with various Union Ministries and State/UT Governments across the country to promote drone applications. They have in turn taken several initiatives for promoting the widespread adoption of drones in commercial logistics, agriculture, mining, large-scale mapping and industrial inspection.
The Government is utilising services of Drone service providers for vaccine delivery, inspection of oil pipelines and power transmission lines, anti-locust operations, agricultural spraying, survey of mines, land mapping under SWAMITVA scheme for issuance of digital property cards, etc. Drone Training Schools have also been set up in various States which have the potential of being a game changer in the promotion and development of drone applications.
With the implementation of the liberalised drone rules, Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme and the drone import policy, it is estimated that the annual sales turnover of the Indian drone manufacturing industry may grow from approximately INR 60 crore in 2020-21 to approximately INR 900 crore by 2024-25.
With its traditional strengths in innovation, information technology, innovative engineering and its huge domestic demand, India has the potential of becoming a global drone hub.