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Drone Import Banned in India, Government Provides Certain Exceptions

The government on Wednesday banned import of foreign drones with certain exceptions as part of efforts to promote domestic manufacturing of drones in the country.

Import of drones for R&D, defence, and security purposes have been exempted from the ban but such imports will require due clearances.

“Import of drone components, however, shall not require any approvals,” the civil aviation ministry said in a release on Wednesday.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under the commerce and industry ministry has issued a notification banning the import of foreign drones.

“Import policy for drones in CBU (Completely Built Up)/CKD (Completely Knocked Down)/SKD (Semi Knocked Down ) form… is prohibited with exceptions provided for R&D, defence, and security purposes,” DGFT said.

Import of drones by government entities, educational institutions recognised by central or state government, government recognised R&D entities and drone manufacturers for R&D purpose will be allowed in CBU, SKD or CKD form. This will be subject to import authorisation issued by DGFT in consultation with concerned line ministries.

Import of drones for defence and security purposes will be allowed in CBU, SKD or CKD form subject to import authorisation issued by DGFT in consultation with concerned line ministries.

The civil aviation ministry said that in order to promote Made in India drones, import of foreign drones has been prohibited with effect from February 9, 2022.

The ministry came out with liberalised drone rules in August 2021.

After the rules, the ministry issued the drone airspace map and PLI scheme in September 2021, UTM policy framework in October 2021. Besides, drone certification scheme and single window DigitalSky Platform were put in place last month.

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