Entrepreneurs 'Innovations + Government Intervention to Provide Push to Indian Drone Industry

Drone technology has been a topic of discussion for a few years now across the globe. With its usage gradually increasing in context of aerial photography, action cameras, agri tech, defense and military use cases, drones and their utility in real life has been well established. However, it is pertinent to note that the Western market has been much ahead in terms of supporting and fostering development of drone technology. The Indian drone journey has been comparatively slower in its growth.

India is currently home to approximately 150 drone technology startups, however the industry only received $42 million in funding between 2011 and 2021. On the other hand globally startups raised close to $6.2 billion in the same time frame.

In India, drones were considered as an emergency technology. For several years lack of support by the government and dearth of positive policies caused the industry to grow at a snail's pace.

2021 turned out to be watershed year for the drone industry as the government came out in full support of the sector. In August, the government released a new set of liberalized rules to boost the burgeoning drone industry in the country. Launched with the intension to usher in an era of ‘supernormal growth', these rules reduced the number of forms and permissions required by manufacturers and service providers.

In September, while addressing the nation in a virtual address, PM Modi also overtly expressed his positive sentiment about the Indian drone industry's impending growth and capability. He mentioned that a ‘new culture of drone startups is emerging in India'. He also expounded that the number of drone startups would soon rise and lead to massive growth in employment opportunities.

According to data released by the government, the drone manufacturing industry is slated to touch approx. Rs 900 crore by FY24 and in the process create 10,000 direct jobs. Speaking about the drone allied service industry, it said that by FY24, Rs 30,000 crore revenue would be generated while creating more than 500,000 lakh jobs.

The government also launched its pioneering 'drone Shakti program' which intends to encourage startups to come up with different applications for drones, including drones-as-a-service (DaaS).

As a consequence, there has also been a rise in VC interest in drone startups. As VC sentiment changes, the industry will receive the desired push and move towards prosperity.
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