New Delhi, July 4 (IANS) Industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) has recommended to the Centre to set up a single window mechanism to obtain clearances and approvals for drone operations in the country.

Accordingly, Ficci said that such a mechanism will make it easier for applicants to obtain flying licenses and give a boost to the nascent sector.

In its recommendations on the draft Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2020, Ficci has requested the Centre to give special consideration to certain applications owing to their non-urban or low altitude applications.

It exhorted the Centre to consider the extreme social value of drones in agricultural spraying and medical delivery.

“Due to the unprecedented scenario created by the COVID-19 pandemic, industry cannot afford the time and cost overruns due to delay in approvals,” Ficci said.

“Ficci recommends setting up a single window mechanism to enable applicants to obtain clearances or approvals from ministries such as the Ministry of Home Affairs, WPC Department of Telecommunication etc. Without such a mechanism the application process could prove to be a cumbersome process.

As per the recommendations, the MoCA (Ministry of Civil Aviation) and DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) may consider setting up an appeals system for applicants through the single window mechanism.

Furthermore, the recommendations said that many Indian innovators and researchers are not able to develop world-class drone products, as they do not have access to infrastructure for testing facility.

“It would be ideal, if MoCA and DGCA could notify wide range of testing sites under the jurisdiction of the MoCA as well as of the other central or state government departments in each and every part of the country,” Ficci said.

“The government has already allowed private sector to use ISRO facilities and other relevant assets to improve their capability. On similar lines, the other government agencies could also be notified.”

At present, industry is dependent on a few labs and testing sites overseas.

In a statement, Rajan Luthra, Chair, Ficci Drones Committee said: “Our country needs innovators who can solve societal problems by applying technology and creating next-generation platforms. R&D and Innovation undertaken in collaboration with industry, academic institutions, and government agencies by Drone start-ups in India shall make the vision of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” a reality within a short time.”

“These innovators have the potential to flourish and succeed with the notification of the draft UAS Rules, 2020.”

–IANS

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