A total of 14 companies, including Adani's joint venture with Israeli firm Elbit Systems, IdeaForge Technology and drone startup Zerodha co-founder Nithin Kamath-backed Omnipresent Robot Technologies, have been selected in the first provisional list of the Centre under the PLI Scheme for drones and drone components. Of the total 14 companies, five are drone manufacturers and nine are drone component makers.

The civil aviation ministry invited applications from eligible manufacturers on March 10, 2022, and the last date for submission was March 31, 2022. The provisional list of PLI beneficiaries is prepared based on the financial data submitted by them for the 10 months – April 2021 to January 2022. During this period, they had crossed the eligibility criteria related to sales revenue and value addition, the ministry said.

The list could be expanded further since some more manufacturers are likely to exceed the eligibility criteria for the full financial year 2021-22. The final list will be released by June 30, 2022, after detailed scrutiny of their financial results and other specified documents.

The government wants to make India a global drone hub by 2030. For this, other initiatives like the notification of the liberalised Drone Rules, 2021 and publishing of Drone Airspace Map 2021 for opening nearly 90% of Indian airspace as a green zone up to 400 feet, have been done.

Shortlisted drone makers

Dhaksha Unmanned Systems, Chennai

Ideaforge Technology, Mumbai

Io TechWorld Avigation, Gurugram

Omnipresent Robot Technologies, Gurguram

Raphe Mphibr, Noida

Shortlisted drone components makers

Absolute Composites, Bengaluru

Adani-Elbit Advanced Systems India, Hyderabad

Adroitec Information Systems, New Delhi

Alpha Design Technologies, Bengaluru

Inventgrid India, Sambalpur

Paras Aerospace, Bengaluru

SASMOS HET Technologies, Bengaluru

ZMotion Autonomous Systems, Bengaluru

Zuppa Geo Navigation Technologies, Chennai

Eligibility critaria

The eligibility criteria for the PLI scheme for drones and drone components include an annual sales turnover of Rs 2 crore for drone companies and Rs 50 lakh for drone components manufacturers; and a value addition of over 40% of sales turnover.

Tenure of the scheme

The tenure will be three years, starting from the financial year 2021-22. The PLI for a particular financial year will be claimed and disbursed in the subsequent financial year. A select company will be eligible for benefits for three consecutive financial years but not beyond the financial year 2023-24.

Total incentive

Under the PLI scheme, a total incentive of Rs 120 crore is spread over three financial years, which is nearly double the combined turnover of all domestic drone manufacturers in FY 2020-21. The PLI rate is 20% of the value-added, which, the Centre says, is one of the highest among other PLI schemes. The total PLI per manufacturer is capped at Rs 30 crore, which is 25% of the total financial outlay of Rs 120 crore.

To make it viable for manufacturers, those who fail to meet the value addition threshold in 2021-22 will be allowed to claim the lost incentive in the subsequent year if they make up the shortfall in 2022-23, the ministry said.

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