Union Minister Jyotiraditya M. Scindia of the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) awarded the first Type Certificate (TC) under the Drone Rules, 2021 to IoTechWorld Avigation Pvt Ltd. (IoTechWorld).
- The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), MoCA, issues a Type Certificate for a specific type of unmanned aircraft system (drone) on the recommendation of the Quality Council of India (QCI) or an authorised testing entity under the Drone Rules 2021.
IoTechWorld, one of India’s leading manufacturers of kisan drones, was established in April 2017 in Gurugram, Haryana.
- Kisan Drones will be used to boost India’s agriculture sector by promoting them for crop assessment, land record digitization, and insecticide and nutrient spraying.
The Drone Rules, 2021
i. The Drone Rules, 2021 were notified on August 25, 2021, and the Certification Scheme for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (CSUAS) for obtaining Type Certificate (TC) for drones was notified on January 26, 2022.
- The CSUAS was developed by the Quality Council of India (QCI) in consultation with drone start-ups, industry, academia, and defence experts, with the Government of India (GoI) serving as a facilitator and problem solver.
ii.QCI has approved three globally-renowned certification bodies (CB), namely: TQ Cert, UL India, and Bureau Veritas, whom drone manufacturers can approach for testing their drone prototypes.
iii. The drone certification scheme is likely to build an eco-system for world-class drones to be manufactured in India and sold globally.
iv.Currently, about 14 drone prototypes are being tested for certification, with the number of Type Certified prototypes expected to exceed 100 in the next 3 years.
IoTechWorld: Received the First Type Certificate
On May 11, 2022, IoTechWorld received the first Type Certificate just 34 days after submitting its online application on the DGCA’s DigitalSky Platform.
- The certification was issued earlier when compared to the mandate of the Drone Rules, 2021, which authorizes QCI or Certification Bodies (CB) 60 days to provide the Type Certificate and 15 days to the DGCA (totally 75 days), providing all essential documents and test reports are as per specifications.
It also emphasizes MoCA’s commitment to “Minimum Government, Maximum Governance”.
Other Drone Reforms
The GoI has implemented a number of drone reforms, including:
i. Notification of Liberalized Drone Rules, 2021 on August 25, 2021.
ii.On September 24, 2021, the Drone Airspace Map was published, making nearly 90% of Indian airspace a green zone for drones flying up to 400 feet.
iii. On September 30, 2021, the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for drones was announced.
iv.On October 24, 2021, the UAS Traffic Management (UTM) Policy Framework was released.
v.On January 22, 2022, the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) announced a monetary grant programme for the purchase of agricultural drones.
vi.On January 26, 2022, all five application forms for the Drone Rules, 2021 were made available online on the DigitalSky Platform of the DGCA.
vii. As part of the Union Budget on February 1, 2022, Mission Drone Shakti was announced to help drone start-ups and promote Drone-as-a-Service (DrAAS).
viii. On February 9, 2022, a Drone Import Policy was announced, prohibiting the import of foreign drones while allowing the import of drone components.
ix.On February 11, 2022, the Drone (Amendment) Rules, 2022, were notified, abolishing the requirement for a drone pilot licence.
x.Manufacturers were encouraged to apply for the PLI scheme for drones and drone components from March 10 to March 31, 2022. On April 20, 2022, the first provisional list of beneficiaries was announced.
India: A Global Drone Hub By 2030
India has set a target of becoming a Global Drone Hub by 2030, and is taking steps in that regard with the issuance of this type of certificate in a record time of 34 days. The other drone prototypes will be certified soon as well.
- India can soon attain its target owing to its historic strengths in innovation, information technology, low-cost engineering, supportive policies, monetary incentives, and a large domestic market base.
Significance of Drones
Drones serve nearly every area of the economy, including agriculture, mining, infrastructure, surveillance, emergency response, transportation, geospatial mapping, defence, and law enforcement, etc.,
- Because of their reach, versatility, and ease of use, they can be significant creators of employment & economic growth, especially in India’s remote and inaccessible areas.
About Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA):
Union Minister –Jyotiraditya M. Scindia (Rajya Sabha – Madhya Pradesh)
Minister Of State (MoS) – General (Retd.) Vijay Kumar Singh (Ghaziabad Constituency, Uttar Pradesh)