New Delhi: The government on Friday eased norms for the export of certain categories of drones, meant for civilian-end uses, with a view to facilitating the outbound shipments of high-tech items. The commerce ministry's arm DGFT said the export of drones/Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) of certain specifications would be allowed under the General Authorisation for Export of Drones (GAED), a one-time general licence valid for three years.
"The export of Drones/UAVs not covered under the specified categories in SCOMET list and capable of range equal to or less than 25 kilometres and delivering a payload of not more than 25 kilograms (excluding the software and technology of these items) and meant for only civilian end-use, will now be subject to GAED," the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said.
Exports of items under the Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies (SCOMET) list are permitted only against an export authorisation issued on this behalf. "In line with the emphasis laid in Foreign Trade Policy 2023 to facilitate the export of high-tech items (which includes the promotion of exports of Drones/UAVs manufactured in India for civilian end uses) and taking into consideration India's international obligations on non-proliferation, the DGFT has simplified and liberalised the policy for export of drones/UAVs meant for civilian end uses from India," it said.
All kind/type of drones/UAVs were earlier controlled/restricted for export under the SCOMET list. This list deals with the category of items that are subject to specific regulations due to their potential dual-use nature meaning they can have both civilian and military applications. SCOMET licence was required for the export of such items and the industry was facing challenges to export drones with limited capability which are only meant for civilian use, it said.
It added that based on the wider consultations held with all the stakeholders including seeking industry comments on the policy, the SCOMET policy of drones meant for civilian use has been amended through a DGFT notification dated June 23 to simplify and liberalise the policy for these exports. It said that this policy change will not require the drone makers or exporters with GAED authorisation to apply for SCOMET licence for every similar export shipment meant for civilian purpose, within the validity period of three years subject to post-reporting and other documentary requirements.
"This would further facilitate the drone/UAV manufacturers/industry to export drones with ease, thereby, facilitating ease of doing business and promoting export from India," it said adding this policy change would also promote India as the global manufacturing hub for these products.
It will allow Indian drone manufacturers to access larger markets and compete on a global scale, ultimately boosting economic activity. "Liberalising export controls on drones may also encourage innovation and technological advancement in the drone/UAV industry," it added.