RattanIndia to benefit from new drone rules

Matternet Drone | IMG: Matternet

RattanIndia, a company focused on next-generation and disruptive businesses and led by Indiabulls founder Rajiv Rattan, said it expects to benefit from the new drone rules announced by the government this week.

Government of India had, earlier this week, announced several far-reaching regulatory changes aimed at allowing people to use drones or unmanned aerial vehicles for both recreational as well as commercial purposes.

India used to have one of the most restrictive and archaic rules on drone use anywhere in the world, as these were more or less considered aircraft earlier.

Because of the strict nature of the rules, they were seldom implemented, and hobbyists rarely faced police harassment in letting their drone dreams take flight.

However, the regulatory uncertainty was an obstacle for those who wanted to explore the commercial side of the technology even as drones were being used in many countries, including the US, for services such as package delivery, aerial photography and even as air taxis.

Nearly all such concerns have been addressed by the new policy notified this week.

Among the new highlights of the new drone policy are the establishment of “drone corridors” for cargo deliveries, permit-less usage of drones outside sensitive zones, increase of maximum drone size from 300 kg to 500 kg and the issue of ‘remote pilot license’ by the government within 15 days.

Meanwhile, Rajiv Rattan, son of Haryana-based school teachers, has always had an eye out for disruptive technologies and businesses, and had been investing heavily into up-and-coming sectors such as electric vehicles and solar power after splitting with his Indiabulls partners in 2014. Rattan, along with his IIT Delhi batchmates Sameer Gehlaut and Saurabh Mittal, had started Indiabulls in 1999 as India’s first online stock broker, which soon expanded it into one of the country’s fastest growing business conglomerates.

Through RattanIndia Enterprises, he invested into Silicon Valley-based drone developer Matternet three weeks ago, and later formed an Indian subsidiary to look at bringing the technology to India.

Matternet makes drones that can be released into the air to deliver a package that weights up to 2 kg in weight to a precise location that is up to 20 km away.

In an update today, RattanIndia said it welcomed the notification of the liberalized rules.

The new rules, it said “are set to transform core sectors of the economy including logistics, agriculture, mining, infrastructure, surveillance, emergency response, transportation, geo-spatial mapping, defence, and law enforcement and will make India a global hub for drones by 2030.”

It pointed out that the increase in the maximum weight to 500 kg would make it possible to explore air taxi services using drones.

The company also said the technology can be especially useful in a congested country like India, and can help reduce the use of fossil fuels.

“This announcement..will give a huge fillip to the sector and will be particularly beneficial to Rattanindia Enterprises which has made investments and has big business plans in the sector,” the company said.

“These Drone Rules, 2021 are intended to ensure the ease of using drones in India based on “trust, self-certification and non-intrusive monitoring. These rules are designed to usher in an era of super-normal growth while balancing safety and security considerations,” it said.

“As announced on 23 August 2021, in light of the strategic investment in Matternet, RattanIndia Enterprises Limited is incorporating a wholly owned subsidiary to kickstart UAV drone business operations in India,” it added.