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India Bans Drone Import To Help Domestic Sector


Recently the Government of India banned the import of Drones with immediate effect, except for research and development, defence and security purposes.


GS II: Government Policies & Interventions, GS II: Defence Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Reason for prohibition of drones for import?
  2. What is a Drone?
  3. Recent initiatives by the Government

Reason for prohibition of drones for import?

  • The move is aimed at giving a boost to domestic manufacturing of drones, which is seen as a sector that is set to witness rapid growth this decade.
  • Thought exceptions were provided for R&D, defence and security, importing drones for these purposes will require “due clearances”.
  • Drone Components:
    • Import of drone components are exempted from the need for approvals as it seeks to boost domestic manufacturing of drones.
  • According to BIS Research, India’s drone market is estimated to account for about 4.25 per cent of the global drone market worth about $28.5 billion in FY22.
  • Import of drones are allowed for?
    • Government entities, educational institutions and government recognised R&D entities will be allowed to import drones

What is a Drone?

  • A Drone is an unmanned aircraft.
  • It is formally known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aircraft systems.
  • It is essentially a flying robot that can be remotely controlled or fly autonomously using software-controlled flight plans in its embedded systems, that work in conjunction with onboard sensors and a global positioning system (GPS).
  • UAVs are often used in Military purposes but now it finds huge application in range of civilian roles.
  • They were initially used for anti-aircraft target practice, intelligence gathering and, more controversially, as weapons platforms.
  • Applications of Drones:
    • search and rescue
    • surveillance
    • traffic monitoring
    • weather monitoring
    • fire-fighting
    • personal use
    • drone-based photography
    • videography
    • agriculture
    • delivery services
Current Affairs 10 February 2022

Recent initiatives by the Government:

  • Easing rules: The import ban follows a move by the government to ease rules around registration and operation of drones in India
    • The new Drone Rules, 2021 : The Ministry of Civil Aviation has liberalised drone rules last year with the aim to encourage R&D and to make India a drone hub.
      • It has reduced both compliances and fees required to operate drones.
  • Production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme : The government also approved a production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for drones and their components with an allocation of ₹120 crore for three financial years.
    • The government has estimated that the PLI scheme for drones would generate investment of over Rs 5,000 crore and 10,000 direct jobs in India’s drone manufacturing sector till FY24.
    • The PLI scheme is also expected to boost the total turnover of the domestic industry to Rs 900 crore in FY24 up from an estimated Rs 60 crore in FY21.
  • Airspace map of India:
    • It was launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) digital sky platform
    • It demarcates the areas where drones can be used without permission and areas in which drone operators cannot operate drones without obtaining prior permission from government authorities.

-Source: The Hindu & The Indian Express

December 2023