Five months after new regulations for the drone industry came into effect, the central government is now in the process of framing an import policy for drones and components.
Sources have told Business Today TV that some restrictions may be put in place on drone imports, adding that the Directorate General of Foreign Trade will be regulating the import of drones and drone components.
A high-level meeting of the Home Ministry, the Niti Aayog and the Ministry of Civil Aviation is scheduled soon to review India's drone ecosystem and suggest modifications to ease procedures.
The import of drones into India is governed by multiple laws, including the Aircraft Act, 1934, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1922, the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, the Sea Customs Act, 1878 and the Foreign Trade Act, 1992.
The key permission required to secure an import clearance for a drone is the certificate of manufacture and airworthiness from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. Moreover, India is seen to be one of the third largest importers of military grade drones.
The centre had issued the Drone Rules, 2021 framework last August to regulate the use and operations of drones in India. The policy sought to reduce the number of permits and fees for owning and operating drones. Some technical restrictions were also relaxed to facilitate the growth of this nascent sector in the country.
The requirement for several approvals including that of unique authorisation number, prototype identification number, certificate of manufacturing and airworthiness, certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, import clearance, acceptance of existing drones, operator permits, student remote pilot licence, remote pilot instructor authorisation and drone port authorisation has been abolished.
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