The Indian drone industry will need to focus on the triad of quality, innovation and indigenisation in pursuit of its goal to become an international drone hub, minister of state for civil aviation, Gen (Retd) Vijay Kumar Singh has said.
“If you want to go outside [India], your products will have to match the best in the world. It just isn’t enough to copy what has been made somewhere else, but it has to be made better than that,” the minister emphasised in a keynote address delivered at the seminar ‘Making India a Global Drone Hub’ organised by the industry chamber FICCI in New Delhi on Thursday.
Alluding to how Maruti’s rollout in the 1980s which eventually culminated in the development of a robust automotive components industry, the minister said a similar approach was now required with drones. Here, research by manufacturers would be critical to the creation of world-class products.
“Great amount of research is needed. The initial investment in research is going to get you the market and provide returns on what you have invested in a larger measure,” the minister said.
“If you don’t do research, then I’m afraid that you will only be importing or copying things, and that is not going to make us a [drone] hub,” he specifically cautioned stakeholders in India’s drone ecosystem.
Therefore, the import of drones and drone parts had to be scrupulously reduced.
“Initially the cost [of the product] may be more. But am sure that once the volumes increase, the prices will come down,” he asserted.
The minister suggested that manufacturers could look at traditional Indian business practices to price their products competitively.
He said that in terms of quality India-made drones had to be better than those from China, one of the largest producers of drones globally. They also needed to be versatile.
“We need to look at the modularity of the system that we create so that there can be multiple options for its use,” the minister said.
He said that the enabling government interventions such as liberalisation of regulations, grants of permissions and identification of Productivity Linked Incentive (PLI) beneficiaries had to go hand in hand with a change in mindset to be fully effective.
“If you don’t look at jumping up to the Moon, you won’t hit the ceiling. So, let’s look at jumping up to the Moon,” he asserted.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has targeted to make the country’s budding drone sector a $30-billion industry by 2030.
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