PLI scheme for drones to open new verticals for drone utilisation

The Centre has kept the eligibility norm for MSME and startups in terms of annual sales turnover at a nominal level — Rs 2 crore (for drones) and Rs 50 lakh (for drone components)

   
PLI scheme for drones to open new verticals for drone utilisation

The production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for drones will not only boost domestic manufacturing of drone and drone components but also bring in new use cases and applications across various sectors, industry experts said.

The Union government had approved a PLI scheme for drones and drone components with an allocation of Rs 120 crore spread over three financial years.

Paras Jain, founder, and Chief Executive Officer of Indo Wings said the approval of the PLI scheme for drones will bring tremendous benefits for all the sectors of the economy.

“…this would open many more verticals for the utilisation of drones…It was encouraging to see the government’s consideration of startups in the drone ecosystem due to which they have kept the revenue requirement of only Rs 2 crore for MSMEs (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) to avail PLIs,” he said.

The Centre has kept the eligibility norm for MSME and startups in terms of annual sales turnover at a nominal level — Rs 2 crore (for drones) and Rs 50 lakh (for drone components) — to widen the number of beneficiaries.

The PLI scheme covers a wide variety of drone components, including airframe, propulsion systems, power systems, batteries, inertial measurement unit, flight control module, ground control station, communication systems, cameras, sensors, spraying systems, emergency recovery system, and trackers.

The government had said the PLI Scheme for the drones and drone components industry addresses the strategic, tactical, and operational uses of this revolutionary technology. The PLI scheme for the Drones and Drone components industry will – over a period of three years – lead to investments worth Rs 5,000 crore, an increase in eligible sales of Rs 1,500 crore, and create additional employment of about 10,000 jobs, it had said.

Vipul Singh, co-founder, and Chief Executive Officer of Aarav Unmanned systems said the best policy framework for R&D, operations, and domestic manufacturing of drones has been framed.

“While on the other side the government is opening up a huge market through emergency procurements, large-scale projects like SVAMITVA, and encouraging private enterprises to utilise the potential of drone technology,” he added.

Industry body Drone Federation of India (DFI) had said the PLI scheme for the drone segment will encourage entrepreneurs to strive towards building drones, components, and software for the global market.

“The very fact that the PLI scheme for drones offers an incentive as high as 20 per cent…to the manufacturers and software developers signifies that the government will leave no stone unturned to support the drone industry,” Smit Shah, Director of DFI, has said.

DFI claims to represent over 2,000 drone pilots, 120 service providers, 90 manufacturers, and 10 training organisations.

RattanIndia Enterprises, which recently announced a strategic investment in US-based drone company Matternet, said the PLI scheme addresses the strategic, tactical, and operational uses of this revolutionary technology.

A product specific PLI scheme for drones with clear revenue targets and focus on domestic value addition is key to building capacity and making these key drivers of India’s growth strategy, it had said adding that the PLI scheme will be a big boost to this “sunrise sector”.