IoTechWorld Avigation aims to sell 70k drones annually by 2028
The drone maker currently manufactures 55% of its components locally and imports the rest. In next 2-3 years, the company envisage to make its drones 100% indigenous
Co-founded by Deepak Bhardwaj and Anoop Kumar Upadhyay, IoTechWorld Avigation is the first drone making company to get the first type certificate under the new drone rules.
In line with Ministry of Civil Aviation's (MoCA) target to make the country's budding drone sector into a $30 billion (over Rs 2.4 lakh crore) industry by 2030, IoTechWorld Avigation has set a target of selling more than 70,000 drones annually by 2027-28. In an interview with Bizz Buzz, Suraj Kumar, Strategy Head (Sales & Marketing), IoTechWorld Avigation, says: "We are currently manufacturing about 55 per cent of our components locally and are importing the rest. We envisage making our drones 100 per cent indigenous over the next 2-3 years."
Yours is the first company to get the first type certificate under the new drone rules. How does it help you in business?
Yes, the certificate was provided to us on June 14, 2022, by none other than Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya M Scindia. The certificate is a testimony to the quality and processes that we at IoTech World Avigation follow. It enhances and establishes trustworthiness of our product offerings among customers, including farmers. The drone certification scheme is likely to create an ecosystem for world class drones to be manufactured in India and sold all across the world.
Which factors were responsible for your entry into this business?
The drone industry in India is still in a nascent stage and the use of technology, including in agriculture, is also at a minimal level. There is a huge scope for growth. Hence, we ventured into this business. We see huge growth opportunities lying ahead over the next few years.
Do you have a scientific or engineering background?
I am a B.Sc. in Agriculture Sciences and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad. Most of the employees are from the engineering background. Also, both our co-founders - Deepak Bhardwaj and Anoop Kumar Upadhyay - have the engineering background. While Bhardwaj holds a B.Tech degree from the Kurukshetra University, Upadhyay is an M.Tech from the Dr MGR Deemed University. Both of them have considerable experience in the field of technology and have worked with some of the most reputed companies in different capacities.
Is the Production-Linked Incentives (PLI) Scheme helping the drone industry?
Considering the fact that the drone industry is in a nascent stage in India, the PLI Scheme for the promotion of manufacturing of drones and drone components is a step in the right direction. The PLI scheme for drones and drone components was notified on September 30, 2021, under which the total incentive of Rs 120 crore is spread over three financial years. The incentives are substantially higher than the combined turnover of all domestic drone manufacturers in FY21 which stood at Rs 88 crore. The PLI rate is 20 per cent of the value addition; this is also one of the highest among other PLI schemes. Moreover, the manufacturers who failed to meet the value addition threshold in 2021-22 will be allowed to claim the lost incentive in the subsequent year. All in all it is very well thought out scheme. But considering the high growth trajectory of the sector, it would be great if the government revises the incentives further.
Is the PLI Scheme helping your company?
We at IoTechWorld Avigation have also applied for the PLI Scheme and have been shortlisted as one of the provisional beneficiaries. Undoubtedly, like other industry players, we also stand to benefit from the scheme.
What are the issues that your sector is facing?
There are some concerns. The 'Certification Scheme for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (CSUAS)' for obtaining Type Certificate (TC) for drones was notified on January 26, 2022. The idea behind the introduction of the certification scheme is to create an ecosystem for world class drones to be manufactured in India and sold all across the world. But unfortunately the market is full of non-type certified drones. This may harm the reputation of the industry and may result in quality issues for end-users particularly farmers. Thus, in the interest of the sector, it is paramount that government does not allow non-types drones to operate in the market.
What kind of support do you expect from the government?
Modern technologies like drone can immensely benefit farmers and help in enhancing their income, and also help in environment sustainability. But there is a lack of awareness amongst farmers about it. Hence, it is imperative that government undertakes a mass awareness campaign to inform the farmers about the benefits of the modern technology. Also, GST on drones is currently pegged at 18 per cent. It is our humble expectation that it should be brought down to 5 per cent, particularly for Kisan Drones.
Where do you see your company five years from now, that is, in 2027-28, in terms of the size of the company?
The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has targeted to make the country's budding drone sector into a $30 billion (over Rs 2.4 lakh crore) industry by 2030. Currently, the market size is about Rs 100 crore. We believe our growth will be equally exponential. By 2027-28, we are confident of selling more than 70,000 drones annually. Moreover, we at IotechWorld Avigation are currently manufacturing about 55 per cent of our components locally and are importing the rest. We envisage making our drones 100 per cent indigenous over the next 2-3 years.