Technological advancements have equipped drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with advanced features. Drones these days can be manoeuvred easily using a remote or even a mobile phone app and are hence finding wide applications in diverse sectors. Realizing the immense growth potential of drones, the Government of India is planning to make India a leader in drone technology. Along with the liberalization of Drone rules in 2021, recently the government has started supporting the drone industry through its PLI scheme.
Why is the government keen on making India a drone leader?
A large part of the huge drone cost is for the patents, especially software application ones. India can utilize its huge talent pool of good software and electronics engineers to build more advanced features for drones. Customized drones can be used in various sectors for tasks that involve domain-specific applications.
With many ambitious young entrepreneurs, encouraging policies, and good domestic demand, India ticks all the essential qualities of a potential drone leader.
Hence, the government is keen on making India a leading drone hub by 2030. The promising sector has already witnessed more than threefold growth since 2021.
Government initiatives to make India a drone leader
The government of India has demonstrated a lot of visionary zeal in estimating the immense potential of drones for development. It is predicted that just like cell phones, many in India may own a drone in the near future. Drones may become a common sight for all of us and will be used extensively in sectors like agriculture, mining, entertainment, etc.
Government policies work towards increasing both demand and supply in the drone ecosystem, thus aiming for sustainable and steep growth in the sector. They are aimed at creating a conducive ecosystem for manufacturing as well as using drones. They are proactively creating demand within the country by using drones for various projects in public sector departments. Here are some of the government initiatives to encourage growth in the drone sector.
The new Drone Policy 2021
It all started with the new Drone Policy in August 2021. The policy opened up a large part of Indian skies for drones.
The policy allows citizens to own drones and use them for non-commercial and personal purposes. Drone pilots no more need a training certificate to fly a nano-drone. They can fly drones anywhere outside the restricted zones near airports.
Drone Shakti introduced in budget 2022
In the budget 2022, Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitaraman introduced the Drone Shatki scheme to boost startups and leverage them to facilitate growth in the drone sector. Startups are encouraged to provide Drone-as-a-Service. Citizens can rent drones and use them in many ways like taking videos and photos.
Kisan Drones – encouraging farmers to use drone technology
Technology is essential to empower farmers and make agriculture more profitable. Many farmers could leverage drone technologies to increase farming output, thereby doubling their income. India has a thriving agriculture sector and huge agricultural lands.
Farmers can use drones to monitor crops and spray the correct amount of pesticides and fertilizers uniformly over their crops. Thus, they can grow crops of export quality with less effort. Moreover, farmers can be spared from constant exposure to hazardous chemicals.
PLI Scheme for drones – A huge boost for drone start-ups and manufacturers
The government of India banned the import of drones to boost drone manufacturing companies in the country. Start-ups can make their own components or assemble drones with imported components to cater to domestic demand. The procedure to obtain a certificate for the drones manufactured has been simplified.
As a follow-through of the liberalised Drone Rules, 2021, the government also launched Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for drones and drone components in Sept 2021. Under the scheme, about 12 drone manufacturers and 11 drone component manufacturers receive incentives from the government for three consecutive years. In the near future, Indian start-ups will build sophisticated drones and export them to other countries.
Establishing more DGCA-approved remote pilot training institutes
Drones sector is a subsector of the Aviation industry. With DGCA being responsible for regulating the sector, drone training has been standardised throughout the country. Recently many more drone pilot trainers have been certified to cater to the increasing demand for drone pilot training.
SVAMITVA scheme – surveying lands
SVAMITVA, a Central Sector Scheme of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj was launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on National Panchayati Raj Day, 24th April 2021. The pilot phase of the scheme has been completed successfully in nine states to date. Under the scheme, rural lands are being mapped using drone technology. The government thus provides to the correct owners ‘Record of Rights’ with legal ownership cards.
Bharat Drone Mahotsav
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s biggest Drone Festival, Bharat Drone Mahotsav, in May 2022. During the festival, drones of various sizes and advanced capabilities were displayed at the venue in Pragati Maidan, Delhi. To show the wide adoption of drones and the huge employment opportunities the sector can create, the Prime Minister also gave away 150 drone pilot certificates during the event. Drones are of immense help in connecting every citizen of the country with the facilities and welfare schemes and moving forward on the path of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas.
As a part of “Atmanirbhar Bharat”, the Government of India has been pushing for innovation in the field of drones through its policies. With various liberal policy benefits and incentives, the government has made it easier for businesses to innovate sophisticated drones for various applications. Its new initiatives created a significant demand for this novel technology.
Soon, there will be no domain where drones are not being used. They will become as common as mobile phones. These futuristic plans by the government are sure to place our country as the top drone leader in the near future.
Also read: Drone industry in India: Scope for skill development and employment generation https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/drone-industry-in-india-scope-for-skill-development-and-employment-generation/
As the industry grows it provides huge employment opportunities. These jobs are for everyone – from someone with a basic 10th class certificate to a subject expert with a doctorate. We should be prepared, educated, and trained in time to make use of the opportunities the sector presents. Many skilling and training institutes are now providing upskilling opportunities like drone pilot training, data analytics certifications, etc. Please visit NSN official website to learn more about these skilling opportunities.