Monday, June 17, 2024

Govt eases policy for export of drones meant for civilian end-use

To facilitate Indian drone makers to access larger markets and compete on a global scale, the government has simplified and liberalised the policy for export of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) meant for civilian end uses.

Accordingly, the Special Chemicals Organisms Material Equipments and Technology (SCOMET) policy of drones meant for civilian use has been amended by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

This decision has been taken in line with the emphasis laid on India’s foreign trade policy 2023 on facilitating export of high-tech items, which include promotion of exports of drones manufactured in India for civilian end use and taking into consideration India’s international obligations on non-proliferation.

Prior to the amendment, all types of drones were restricted for export in the category 5B of the SCOMET list under classification of import and export items.

This list deals with the category of items that are subject to specific regulations due to their potential dual-use nature — meaning they can have both civilian and military applications. Also, SCOMET licence was required for export of such items.

Owing to requirements, the industry was facing challenges to export drones with limited capability which are only meant for civilian use.

Therefore, based on the wider consultations held with all the stakeholders, the SCOMET policy of drones meant for civilian use has been amended to simplify and liberalise the policy for export of drones.

The export of drones not covered under the specified categories in SCOMET list and capable of range equal to or less than 25 km and delivering a payload of not more than 25 kg (excluding the software and technology of these items) and meant for only civilian end-use, will now be subject to ‘General Authorisation for Export of Drones’ (GAED), a one-time general licence valid for three years.

This policy change will not require drone manufacturers or exporters with GAED Authorisation to apply for SCOMET license for every similar export shipment meant for civilian purpose, within the validity period of three years, subject to post reporting and other documentary requirements, thus reducing the compliance by the industry to apply for SCOMET licence every time they have to export any kind of civilian drone.

This move is expected to facilitate drone manufacturersAto export drones with ease and thus promoting export from India.

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