The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) plans for more effective utilisation of drone applications in India. Towards the mission to make the country a global hub for drones, the central government is deploying a liberalised Drone Rules 2021. The mission is devised under the government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan programme.
The civil aviation ministry suggests deploying drones for purposes like surveillance, crime control, situational analysis, disaster management, VVIP security, etc. It seeks coordination from different ministries to make this possible, and has sent letters requesting the same to a dozen ministries.
Benefits of drones across sectors
Drones or uncrewed aerial vehicles offer tremendous benefits to almost every sector of the economy, including national defence, mapping, agriculture and law enforcement, among others.
In a note sent to ministries, MoCA Secretary Rajiv Bansal calls various Ministries to promote effective use of the technology in their departments. Under the Ministry of Defence, unmanned aerial vehicles can be used for combat, communication in remote areas, counter-drone solutions, etc. For the Health and Family Welfare Ministry, drones can collect samples from remote or epidemic/pandemic-affected areas. The Petroleum, Natural Gas and Energy Ministries can utilise drones for real-time surveillance of assets and transmission lines, construction planning and management, theft prevention, visual inspection/maintenance, among others. Drone operations can benefit anti-poaching actions, monitoring forests and wildlife, pollution assessment, and evidence gathering for the Ministry of Environment. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting can use drones for applications such as high-quality videography of events, especially in difficult-to-reach-places at a fraction of the cost. Currently, it uses expensive helicopter-based videography, which can become cost-effective with drone-based videography.
According to the news publication The Hindu, the Ministry of Railways has already started executing the idea. The publication cited anonymous sources, who said that the Ministry of Railways wrote to General Managers across its network to implement the drone ideas. The report further states that the Principal Chief Security Commissioner, Western Railway, is nominated as the nodal officer to coordinate the activities with the Ministry of Civil Aviation for guidance and support.
MoCA Secretary Rajiv Bansal has made the suggestions to ministries after consultation with experts in the field, drone start-ups and other related industry bodies.
[With inputs from The Hindu]