A few years ago, the Indian Aviation Industry was on the verge of dying. The people of the country didn’t have much in their pockets to fly high. But, time flipped things; the aviation industry started growing, with the unheard technology of drones as a cherry on top, to dominate the market. Though Indian drones have wonderful plans for growth, nothing leads to success unless they are carried out.
Government for Indian Drone market
As previously reported by TFI, the Indian government has approved the PLI scheme for drones and their components, with total incentive of Rs 120 crore. These 120 crores were allotted for three financial years. Under this initiative, the government provided a list of drone components.
Concerning the rapidly evolving industry, the government had also indicated that the list of drone components would be expanded. In 2020-21, the total incentive worth Rs 120 crore was almost twice the combined turnover of all domestic drone manufacturers. The annual sales turnover of the drone manufacturing industry was expected to grow from INR 60 crores in 2020-21 to over INR 900 crores in 2023-24. In the coming years, the drone manufacturing business alone is estimated to provide thousands of direct jobs.
India has already made significant developments toward increasing defence capacity of drones. Earlier, the government had also liberalised the drone sector with a set of new rules and regulations. These new rules reduced the long cherished bureaucratic hurdles and made it easier and cheaper for new startups and old companies to operate in the sector.
The believed success of PLI
Following the approval of the Production Linked Incentive Scheme, the order value of the Indian civilian drones was set to witness a massive uptick. Completely manufactured by India drones have started to get export orders from foreign customers.
As reported by TFI, ASCL, the largest player in Japan’s drone market has tied up with Aerodyne to manufacture export-ready drones in India. Aerodyne already has a manufacturing unit in Tamil Nadu, and in the wake of huge export demand; it has decided to at least triple its manufacturing capacity.
Though India is just an emerging player in the drone sector, the fact that countries prefers us over established ones like China, shows the difference in authenticity between long-lasting Indian manufactured products and the Chinese products with minuscule shelf-life.
Read more: India begins eating into China’s drone exports
Wide range of plans for the Indian drones market
It is, however, only the tip of the iceberg. The Indian drone market is booming, with a wide motive of serving various sectors of the economy. Drones have the potential to benefit the agriculture sector, infrastructure sector, emergency response, transportation, geospatial mapping, media and entertainment, law enforcement, national defense, mapping, and scientific research.
Therefore, the Indian government is launching schemes like PLI to further boost the Indian Drone Industry. According to a report published in July 2022, under the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, the Centre aimed to construct a growth-oriented framework for drones by 2030 in order to make India the leading global hub for the development, testing, production, and operation.
Apart from this, the government also carried out a series of other reforms to boost the industry. The series comprises of the publication of the Drone Airspace Map in 2021, which making approximately 90 per cent of Indian airspace a “green zone” up to 400 feet, and the UAS Traffic Management (UTM) policy framework in 2021. As another development, the Drone Certification Scheme was introduced in 2022, which makes it simpler for drone manufacturers to obtain a type certificate. The other includes the Drone Import Policy in 2022, which prohibits the import of drones from abroad, and the Drone (Amendment) Rules in 2022 are also part of the initiatives taken by the government.
Apart from this, the announcement of “Drone Shakti” in Budget 2022, highlighted the serious paradigm shift in the drone industry. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made it a point that the initiative will also help establish Drones as a service-provider. With this, various start-ups will be promoted to facilitate ‘Drone Shakti’ through use in cases and applications.
Read more: Aatmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India schemes are all set to make India a global defense powerhouse
Planning but no execution of drones
Reportedly, Ameet Nichani, owner of Ascom Systems, which designs and develops drones said, “Currently, 90 percent of drones in use in India are imported. There is no component ecosystem in the country and most of the major components are imported, especially from China. The government is giving the deserved recognition to the drone industry. It will now be upon local manufacturers to produce world-class products and scale up their research and development.”
Focusing on the aforementioned plans, policies, and reforms by the government, it is imperative to note that the Indian drone market is on a competing spree. On one hand, countries like China are among the biggest producers and sellers of drones and on the other hand, India is buckling up and emerging high as the leading drone market in the world.
But all this cannot be achieved without the proper execution of the schemes and reforms, considering the long approved schemes, there have been no execution. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the statutory body that regulates civil aviation in India, has not released any recent guidelines for the same.
Undoubtedly, India is a huge market for drones and has developed various plans and schemes but unfortunately, there is no execution in light of these plans.
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