Home/ Companies / Start-ups/  Garuda Aerospace receives DGCA approval as remote pilot training organization

NEW DELHI : Chennai-based drone manufacturing and services startup, Garuda Aerospace, has received approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) as an official remote pilot training organization (RPTO). This makes Garuda the 31st RPTO of India to have been approved since the union government liberalized drone regulations on August 26, last year.

Agnishwar Jayaprakash, chief executive of Garuda Aerospace, said that the approval will facilitate the startup to train 1 lakh drone pilots across 755 districts — a target that it aims to meet by end-2024. The company also aims to manufacture 1 lakh ‘Kisan’ drones within this same time period, for which it received the first ‘drone loan — an initiative under the Ministry of Agriculture to build and deploy affordable drones for farming and related applications.

Ever since the liberalized Drone Rules, 2021 regulations were published in August last year, the centre, as well as state governments, have offered a number of incentives and initiatives to boost the homegrown drone ecosystem.

On January 22, the union agriculture ministry amended the ‘Sub-Mission on Agriculture Mechanization’ (SMAM) guidelines to grant up to 10 lakh for the purchase of agriculture by various government-backed bodies in the agriculture sector — such as Farm Machinery Training and Testing Institutes, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and others.

Garuda’s ‘drone loan’, which was granted to the startup on July 30, fell under this ambit.

Following up on this amendment, on July 17, the Civil Aviation Ministry offered exemptions to the DGCA to reduce the timeline of processing applications for adding RPTOs — under Rule 39 of Drone Rules, 2021.

On August 8, a Lok Sabha response submitted by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship further highlighted that the latter has developed six “short-term skilling courses" to enable domestic manufacturing, assembly, repairing and maintenance of drones, as well as training of skilled manpower in the drone sector.

The response further clarified that under the present fast-tracked regulations, the DGCA can approve RPTO licenses to companies within 60 days of receipt of the applications, and as of August 2, 576 remote pilot licenses have been issued by the erstwhile RPTOs.

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Updated: 29 Sep 2022, 07:33 PM IST
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