While the government is utilising services of drone service providers for vaccine delivery, inspection of oil pipelines and power transmission lines, anti-locust operations, agricultural spraying, survey of mines, and land mapping, private players are free to use drones for delivery purposes subject to compliance with Drone Rules, 2021, said the Civil Aviation Ministry.
In September 2021, the government notified the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme to promote the growth of drone manufacturing by private companies.
The scheme provides for an incentive of Rs 120 crores, spread over three financial years.
The PLI rate is 20 per cent of the value addition over three financial years. PLI for a manufacturer shall be capped at 25 per cent of total annual outlay.
The beneficiaries include 12 manufacturers of drones and 11 manufacturers of drone components.
The Drones Rules, 2021 notified on August 25, 2021 provide the necessary regulatory framework for commercial use of drones.
These rules cover various aspects like type certification, registration and operation of drones, airspace restrictions, research, development and testing of drones, training and licensing, offences and penalties etc.
As per Drones Rules, 2021, every drone, except for those meant for research, development and testing purposes, is required to be registered and should have a Unique Identification Number (UIN).
An airspace map of the country segregating the entire airspace into red, yellow and green zones is available on the digital sky platform.
Operation of drones in red and yellow zones is subject to the approval of the Central government and the concerned Air Traffic Control (ATC) authority, respectively.
No approval is required for operation of drones in green zones.
The state government, the Union Territory administration and law enforcement agencies have been empowered under the rules to declare a temporary red zone for a specified period.