The Government of India has granted drone usage permission to 10 organisations. The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have granted conditional exemption from Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021 mostly for aerial survey and agricultural purposes.
In the list provided by the central government, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has granted usage of drones to the Basavaraj Bommai-led Karnataka government. The state government has been asked to use drones for aerial survey and create a record of urban property ownership in Bengaluru. The National Health Mission in Mumbai has got the approval for conducting experimental BVLOS drone flights to deliver essential healthcare items in tribal areas of Jawhar in Palghar district of Maharashtra.
Gangtok’s smart city development body is authorised to use drones for aerial survey for its future smart city projects. In West Bengal’s Burnpur, the Iron & Steel Company (IISCO), a steel authority of India (SAIL) subsidiary, has got government approval to use drones for conducting perimeter surveillance of the plant. In the southern state of Telangana, Asia Pacific Flight Training Academy in Hyderabad and Gujarat’s Blue Ray Aviation will be allowed to use drones for conducting remote pilot training.
Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited, a major tractor manufacturer based in Chennai with an annual turnover of INR 10,000 Cr will be allowed to use drones for conducting aerial spraying to assess crop health & prevent crop disease. Anand Mahindra led Mahindra & Mahindra which manufactures commercial vehicles along with trucks and tractors is given permission to conduct drone based agricultural trials and precision spraying on paddy and hot pepper crop in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
International pharmaceutical company Bayer Crop Science which focuses on life science fields of nutrition and healthcare has been allowed to use drones for conducting agricultural research activities and agricultural spraying. Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology will be using drones to conduct atmospheric research in IITM Bhopal, NDA Pune, Karad Airport, Osmanbad Airport, and Mohammed Airfield in Farrukhabad.
From finding its usage in wars to taking amazing shots for movies, drones in a very short period of time have managed to move their way up for commercial usage. Several Indian startups such as SenseHawk, TechEagle, Ideaforge, among others have been offering drone solutions to increase better efficiency in various sectors. State governments also have started taking interest in drones. For instance, the Telangana government earlier this year announced that under the ‘Medicine from sky’ initiative in association with the World Economic Forum, Niti Aayog, and HealthNet Global will be using drones to deliver vaccines and drugs. As per PWC report, drone market in India is predicted to grow to $885 Mn by 2021