A day after the Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced its decision to ban the import of drones, the civil aviation ministry on Friday, 11 February, scrapped the requirement of drone pilot licences for operating drones in India.
The Remote Pilot Certificate (RPC) issued by a DGCA-approved drone school through the single window DigitalSky Platform will now be sufficient for operating a drone in the country, officials told Mint.
This certificate won't be required for operating a drone up to 2 kg for non-commercial purposes. RPC and DigitalSky Platform were both set up by the government last month.
India's Drone Ban
On Wednesday, 9 February, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under the commerce ministry banned the import of foreign drones with certain exceptions in an effort to promote domestic manufacturing of drones.
The move seems to be aimed at blocking China-based DJI, which is the world's leading drone manufacturer by far. In 2021, the enterprise had a market share of 76 percent in volume, followed by Intel who had a market share of around four percent, according to Statista.
Drones required for research and development, educational purposes, and defence and security, can still be imported into India after due clearance from DGFT in consultation with the pertinent ministries.
Import of drone components will not require any approvals.
The civil aviation ministry came out with liberalised drone rules in August 2021. It later issued the drone airspace map, a Rs 120 crore production-linked-incentive scheme for drone manufacturing, and an Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) policy framework.
(With inputs from Mint)