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New guidelines for PLI scheme on drones but MCA yet to regularise drone usage

India’s civil aviation ministry seems to be encouraging domestic manufacturing of drones without accompanying plans for regularisation

drone

What’s the news: Ministry of Civil Aviation (MCA) on December 3, 2022 notified the operational guidelines for the implementation of the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme to support the indigenous drone industry. The press release announcing the same came with a 27-page document detailing the guidelines. Yet, despite the enthusiasm for manufacturing drones in India, the government remains silent on the regularisation of drone usage. Why it matters: Of late, India’s law enforcement agencies have taken to the idea of using drones in policing work. Experts worry about the implications of surveillance technology being used by the police especially during instances of civil dissent. The industrial body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) earlier lobbied for a single inter-ministerial committee (IMC) on drone-related issues. However, the suggestion seems to have fallen on deaf ears as government departments only focus on enhancing the technology. In the absence of data protection or privacy laws, this may enable the creation of a ‘surveillance state.’ MCA to form committee for release of funds: The guidelines, notified on November 29, cover definitions, qualification and eligibility, application and online portal, Project Management Agency (PMA), Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS), and Competent Authority. It will constitute the committee to select applicants, sanctions and release of funds. The MCA Secretary will act as the Chairperson. Other members will include: Senior Economic Advisor/ Joint Secretary in-charge of drones, MCA Joint Secretary and Financial Advisor, MCA Deputy Secretary, SDIT, MCA (Member Secretary) The Committee will be authorised…

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I'm interested in the shaping and strengthening of rights in the digital space. I cover cybersecurity, platform regulation, gig worker economy. In my free time, I'm either binge-watching an anime or off on a hike.

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