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Use Of Drones In India: Unlimited Sky

As more people and businesses realise the need for drones for efficiency and functioning, even sky is not the limit for these Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) as the drone industry is expected to lead us to a new era of economic growth by creating employment opportunities on a large scale

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In May 2022, the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi at India’s biggest drone event, Bharat Drone Mahotsav rightly encouraged the citizens by informing them that our country has the potential to be a global drone hub by 2030 and that the drone industry is showing a potential of an emerging large sector of employment generation in India. 

According to the Drone Industry Insights Report 2020, the worldwide drone industry is predicted to increase at a 13.8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to $42.8 billion by 2025. India’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20.9% between 2020 and 2026. 

According to BIS Research, the drone market in India is likely to touch $1.81 billion (Rs 13,330 crore) by Financial Year 2026 growing at a CAGR of 14.61 per cent, as per news reports.

A strong drone manufacturing system in India is being aimed to be created by the Government of India through schemes like Drone (Production Linked Incentive) PLI scheme and ambitious projects such as the PM Swamitva Yojana to digitally map lands using drones and offer land title deeds to property holders, which are being undertaken to bring in the drone revolution in the country. 

The Cabinet’s approved a Rs 120 crore performance-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for the drone industry and imposed a ban on the impact of drones.        India has witnessed a 34.4.% surge in the number of drone or UAV start-ups between August 2021 and February 2022. 

Further, the Government also proposed ‘Drone Shakti’ in the Budget 2022 claiming that ‘drone as a service’ will encourage start-ups to facilitate. 

Currently, there are over 100 drone companies and more than 200 service providers in the country. 

Smit Shah, Director, Drone Federation of India, estimates that in the next five years the market potential is to be over 500 billion rupees.

The blanket ban on the use of drones in the country in 2014, was lifted by the government in 2018 with the first drone policy and has been evolving since then. 

Recently, the liberalized new Drone rules of August 2021 have put India on par with other countries as far as regulation goes. The Government has taken a pragmatic and industry-friendly approach by repealing the March rules and replacing them with a new set of guidelines. 

The Drone Rules, 2021 successfully replaced the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) rules, 2021 and were built on the premise of trust, self-certification and non-intrusive monitoring. The most notable aspect is that for flying micro and nano drones a remote pilot’s license is no longer needed. 

Further, the Drone (Amendment) Rules, 2022 enacted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation on 11th February 2022 brought key amendments to the previous rules such as that the remote pilot certificate (which was earlier called a licence) is no more required for flying small to medium-sized drones of up to 2 kg for non-commercial purposes. 

The launch of Kisan Drones in the country is additionally expected to take agriculture mechanization to the next level, for which the drone-making startups are also being encouraged continuously to improvise the machines so as to meet the farmers’ requirements and make these new-age vehicles more affordable for them.

Apart from their huge benefits in the agriculture sector, these flying machines are also used in monitoring climate change to carry out post-disaster search operations, filming and communication in remote areas along with an eminent use by the military. 

First deployed in the Vietnam War, drone trails for food deliveries are being done by food delivery outlets such as Zomato and Swiggy. Delivering medicines and other essentials in remote parts of the country is also one of the prime benefits of the use of drones. 

Several states have now expressed interest in using drones to deliver Covid-19 vaccines to the required areas.

As technology continues to advance and grow, drones will become more dependable and an inseparable part of our lives. A drone’s ability to take us nearly anywhere will always be its most alluring feature, even if it is just for the time being. 

As more people and businesses realise the need for drones for efficiency and functioning, even sky is not the limit for these Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) as the drone industry is expected to lead us to a new era of economic growth by creating employment opportunities on a large scale. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Sudhir Mishra

The author is Founder and Managing Partner, Trust Legal.

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Simran Gupta

Associate, Trust Legal

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Sidhant Oberoi

The author is a Trainee Associate, Trust Legal

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