scindia: Jyotiraditya Scindia unveils air sports policy; the country will become a hub for the same by 2023

NEW DELHI: In a major push towards air sports in India, the government on Tuesday announced a policy in this regard. Union Aviation Minister JM Scindia has launched the National Air Sports Policy 2022 which covers activities such as air racing, aerobatics, model aircraft, hang gliding, paragliding, paramotoring and skydiving.
“India has the potential to be among the leading nations in the world of air sports by 2030. It has a vast geographical expanse, diverse topography and favorable weather conditions. However, all activities will need to be carried out to strict safety standards as there is an element of risk involved. We will also develop India as a manufacturing hub for materials used for aero sports,” Scindia said. He said that currently, Rs 80-100 crore is generated annually as revenue from air sports and this figure may soon increase by 10 times.
The policy now covers: aerobatics, model aircraft and model rockets, homebuilt and experimental aircraft, hot air ballooning, drones, gliding and powered gliding, hang gliding and powered hang gliding, skydiving (including skydiving, BASE1 jumping and wingsuits), paragliding and paramotoring (including powered parachute tricycles), powered aircraft (including ultralights, microlights and light sport aircraft) and rotorcraft (including gyrocopters).
“The list of air sports may be amended from time to time, if deemed necessary by the competent authority. NASP 2022 coverage will include vintage aircraft in each air sport, where applicable,” the policy states.
There will be a four tier governance structure for air sports in India with the Air Sports Federation of India (ASFI) as the supreme governing body under the Ministry of Aviation,” followed by the National Associations for Individual Air Sports or a set of air sports. Then there will be regional or state/UT units of national air sports associations. District level air sports associations will be the fourth level.
“Long-term funding for the development of air sports in India will come from corporate investors, sponsors, membership fees, events and media rights. ASFI can seek financial support from the government for the promotion of air sports, especially in the early years,” it says.
“The Armed Forces of India, Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) and various state police forces have excellent training facilities, equipment and instructors for air sports. ASFI will collaborate with Ministries of Defense and Interior and State Police Forces to explore possibilities of extending their facilities to the public at reasonable cost; without compromising quality, safety, national security and requirements operational forces,” the policy states.
It calls for establishing safety guidelines because “air sports involve a higher level of risk than flying an ordinary aircraft” as well as penalties for violating them. “No person or entity involved in air sports shall violate the right of way of civil or military aircraft.”
The GST rate on the purchase of air sports equipment is between 18% and 28%. Balloons, gliders and other non-motorized aircraft and their spare parts are subject to a GST rate of 18%. “To make air sports affordable to the general public, the government can ask the GST Board to consider streamlining the GST rate on air sports equipment to 5% or less. The government may consider a PLI program for domestic manufacturing of air sports equipment under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. The PLI can be linked to the added value made in India,” he adds.

Toya J. Bell