The New Drone Policy: Clueless or Sinister?
Srinath Mallikarjunan 13 September 2021
There has been a lot of hype over the recently liberalized 'Drone policy'. The new drone policy may be found here. The media has hailed these rules as a visionary, game-changing and, of course, a masterstroke. 
The hurdles and roadblocks placed by the bureaucracy before India’s drone industry have been written about ad-nauseam in the following articles:
But the state of affairs could best be summed up by the following article...
Let us examine facts on the ground as they currently exist.
(a) Almost no Indian company develops autopilots or flight control laws. As long as the flight control laws are not developed in-house, a drone is little more than an autorickshaw assembled in a roadside garage.
(b) The ancillary industries such as composites, batteries, motors and propellers do not exist because they were all banned until recently.
(c) All countries from Azerbaijan to Turkey have successful indigenous drone programmes.
As a result of deliberate or foolish policy, India is in the unenviable position of showing up in a gunfight with sticks and stones.
While the government has been wailing about the lack of jobs and growth from the rooftops, the bureaucracy has actively killed every rising sunrise sector.
The only positive of the 'new' policy is that start-ups do not require a prototype certificate to test their drones in Green zones. The biggest negative of the 'new' policy is that the directorate general of foreign trade (DGFT) will regulate the import of drones and drone components.
The only outcome of this policy is that import licences will be given to cronies (as always). But maybe that was the unstated intent all along?
Clueless, gullible Indians will imagine India as a superpower because their wedding video was taken by a $500 Chinese drone and sold for $2,000.
This follows in the same footsteps of India’s complete dependence on China for critical electric vehicle components and solar panels.
On a side note, it is interesting to note that the first employee Tesla hired in India was not an engineer but a 'iaison' person to 'engage' with the babudom.
It is heartening to note that the world’s richest man is under no illusions about any market, bureaucracy, or government.
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(Srinath Mallikarjunan is founder of Unmanned Dynamics, an advanced guidance system company)
1 month ago
our burdeno-crats will rarely liberalise the policy what looks liberalised on face will be constricted a few steps down effectively increasing the length of process and visit for SALAM and SALAMI
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