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PLI scheme for drones & drone components; Govt invites applications

In order to realise the vision of making India a global drone hub by 2030, the government on May 5 opened the application window for those manufacturers of drones and drone components, who may have crossed the PLI eligibility threshold for the full financial year (1st April 2021 to 31st March 2022).

For such manufactures, the government had earlier on May 4 issued an order inviting applications for Production Linked Incentive scheme for drones and drones components.

How to apply

Eligible manufacturers may submit the application form at https://www.civilaviation.gov.in/application-pli-scheme.

The deadline for submitting the application form is 20 May 2022. The final list of PLI beneficiaries is expected to be released by 30 June 2022 after detailed scrutiny of their financial results and other specified documents.

Earlier on 20th April 2022, MoCA has published a provisional list of 14 PLI beneficiaries based on the financial results submitted by PLI applicants for the ten-month period (1st April 2021 to 31st January 2022).These include five drone manufacturers and nine drone component manufacturers.

Eligibility

The eligibility criteria for the PLI scheme for drones and drone components includes an annual sales turnover of INR 2 crore for drone companies and INR 50 lacs for drone components manufacturers; and value addition of over 40% of sales turnover.

An approved applicant shall be eligible for benefits for three consecutive financial years but not beyond financial year 2023-24.

PLI scheme for drones and drone components

The objective of this scheme is to incentivise manufacturing of drones and drone components in India so as to make them self-sustaining and globally competitive.

Under the scheme, a total incentive of INR 120 crore is spread over 3 financial years which is nearly double the combined turnover of all domestic drone manufacturers in FY 2020-21. The PLI rate is 20% of the value addition which is one of the highest among other PLI schemes.

Relevance of the scheme

Drones offer tremendous benefits to sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure, emergency response, transportation, geospatial mapping, media and entertainment, law enforcement and national defence. With liberalised rules and the incentive scheme, the government expects drones and drone components manufacturing industry to attract investments of over INR 5,000 crore before the end of this fiscal.

The drone manufacturing industry is expected to generate over 10,000 direct jobs, and drone services industry is expected to generate over five lakh jobs by the end of 2024.

Other reforms in Drone sector

In 2021, the government notified liberalised Drone Rules and published a Drone Airspace Map which opened nearly 90% of Indian airspace as a green zone. Drone (Amendment) Rules, 2022 abolished the requirement of a drone pilot license for drone operations

With the Drone Certification Scheme 2022, the government made it easier for drone manufacturers to obtain a type certificate. Drone Import Policy, 2022 banned the import of foreign-made drones providing a boost to the domestic manufactures.

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