As the central government claimed the change in drone policy will bring in revolution to the transport, logistics, agriculture, mining and health sectors, experts feel the new set of rules will make India an aatmanirbhar drone hub.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “The new drone rules usher in a landmark moment for this sector in India. The rules are based on the premise of trust and self-certification. Approvals, compliance requirements and entry barriers have been significantly reduced.”
He added, “The new drone rules will tremendously help start-ups and our youth working in this sector. It will open up new possibilities for innovation and business. It will help leverage India’s strengths in innovation, technology & engineering to make India a drone hub.”
India Today TV spoke to drone expert Amit Sharma and Rahul Jain, managing director of Matrix Geo Solutions Private Limited, who shared their opinion on the new Drone policy.
WHAT RAHUL JAIN SAID
“The change in rules will be the beginning of a new era. The fresh set of regulations will help start-ups in making new business policies and open up more avenues for them. It will also create a lot of new job opportunities,” Rahul Jain said.
“The fresh guidelines will promote setting up of new drone manufacturing units under ‘aatmanirbhar drone hub’. The policies will help the service industry since they manufacture a lot of drones, which can now be utilised by the armed forces, industry, agriculture, highways, railways and several other sectors. National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) already utilises drones for its projects,” said the managing director.
“Earlier, due to the several policy-related issues, we found it difficult to set up manufacturing units. The import rules, too, required a lot of permissions from various departments. But now, it is a single-window system. As per new guidelines, commercial use of drones will require a pilot licence,” said Rahul Jain.
While talking about pilot training, Rahul Jain said that India has 12 remote pilot training institutes across the country and with this new policy in effect, it will help in opening up of more such institutes. It takes five days of training to get drone pilot licence. Ministry of Civil Aviation is also promoting such pilot training schools.
On Law Front
“Previously, there was no law related to drones in India, which is why no one was ready to invest in this sector. But since we have a law now, more investors from outside will be ready to infuse fund and grow with us,” said the Rahul Jain.
“Under the new policy, imports are going to be really easy as DGCA’s mandatory permission protocol has been done away with. Subsequently, it will help startups who are making drones. Drones in many countries are already being used for essential services apart from delivering medicines and pizzas,” said the managing director.
“In Germany and the US, people are using drones for recreational purposes and they are utilising zones and their crafts for banners hanging showcasing them. “If you live in a green zone, I can deliver the pizza through drone right away. From pizzas to medicine deliveries, can take place in a few months in big towns. Modi government has given a wonderful verdict with this neutral policy making India an aantmanirbhar drone hub,” said Rahul Jain.
DRONE EXPERT AMIT SHARMA SPEAKS
” Drones are a sensitive thing. Permission for non-commercial use of micro and nano drones (less than 2kg) has been relaxed. In India, you need drones for planning, mapping, monitoring of your assets and also situational awareness can be done using these drones. By relaxing the rules, there will be more and more companies coming in the fray. We cannot ignore other industries like agriculture. If you remember the recent locust attack in Rajasthan, drones could have been used to to drive away locusts by sprinkling chemicals since drones have the technology to fly at low altitude, said drone expert Amit Sharma.
“These drones have good carrying capacity. Previously, for a licenced drone there were several kinds of rules but they have been reduced now. Students straight out of college can buy a drone and start his own company and provide services,” added the expert.