The Indian government has put a lot of emphasis on the wide use-cases of drones even as it fine-tunes the drone policy and regulations.framework. The latest guidelines with regards to drones may allow certain businesses and organisations to train pilots for these unmanned aerial drones.
An ET report cited an unreleased guideline by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to say that it may liberalise the criteria for organisations that can train drone pilots. This means that government may allow airlines, state and central government agencies, universities and drone manufacturers to train pilots for drones.
At present, the guidelines only allow flight training organisations to undertake training and certification of drone pilots in India. Only 34 FTOs are registered in India. The guidelines for the new remote pilot training organisation will reportedly be announced in the coming weeks and it will also apply to the charter plane and aircraft maintenance providers.
Interestingly, the draft CAR (civil aviation requirement) targets many categories of organisations, which could mean thousands of designated drone schools in India. The draft will be released formally for public consultation soon. It is further reported that a group of approved FTOs had met with officials from the DGCA, Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the ministry of civil aviation last week to review the new guidelines prior to their public release.
According to DataLabs By Inc42’s Drone Technology: India Opportunity Report 2019, the total funding raised by drone startups in India from 2014 to 2018 was just $16.56 Mn which accounts for a mere 2.26% of the total deeptech funding ($732 Mn) in this period.
In September 2018, the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) legalised flying commercial drones under the Digital Sky rules. Following which it released the draft note for Drone Regulations 2.0 in 2019, which had proposed regulations for the operation of drones in public spaces, particularly the ones implemented at a commercial scale. However, drones startups in India are weighed down by high costs and compliance burden when it comes to regulations, which has negatively impacted the investor confidence as well, though interest remains high.
As per ‘Make in India for Unmanned Aircraft Systems’ report by EY, Indian government bodies are leading the way for the application of the drones system in India.
According to global market intelligence and advisory firm BIS Research, the Indian drone market is expected to be valued at $885.7 Mn by 2021, while the global opportunity is estimated to touch $21.47 Bn during this period.