Draft national air sports policy pushes for safety standards

What is the news?

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has released a draft National Air Sports Policy (NASP) for public feedback.

What is the purpose of the Draft National Air Sports Policy(NASP)?

– Aim: To make India one of the top air sports nations by 2030 by providing a safe, affordable, accessible, enjoyable and sustainable air sports ecosystem in India.

– Objectives: a) Promote an air sports culture in the country b) Adopt international best practices in air sports c) Develop India as a preferred global hub for air sports d) Develop effective governance structure e) Enhance participation of Indian sportspersons in global air sports events and f) Promote design, development and manufacturing of air sports equipment in India.

– Coverage: The policy will cover activities like aerobatics, aeromodelling, amateur-built and experimental aircraft, ballooning, drones, etc.

What are the key features of the Draft National Air Sports Policy (NASP)?

The policy proposes a two-tier governance structure for air sports in the country which will include an apex governing body called the Air Sports Federation of India (ASFI) and associations for each air sport.

– ASFI: It will be an autonomous body under the Ministry of Civil Aviation. It will represent India at the Fédération Aéronaautique Internationale (FAI) and at other events. It will provide governance over various aspects of air sports including regulation, certification, competitions, awards and penalties.

Note: FAI headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland is the world governing body for air sports. 

– Associations for each air sport: It will handle day-to-day activities. It will lay down its safety standards for equipment, infrastructure, personnel and training, and specify the disciplinary actions to be taken in case of non-compliance. Inability to do so may lead to penal action by the ASFI

Safe– Registration: All persons and entities providing air sports services will be required to register as members of the respective air sports associations. Key equipment used will also have to be registered.

– Control Zones: The popular air sports attractions in the country such as Bir Billing in Himachal Pradesh, Gangtok in Sikkim, Hadapsar in Maharashtra and Vagamon in Kerala can be declared as a “control zone” for air sports in order to ensure the safety of other manned aircraft.

– Schools and colleges will be encouraged to include air sports in their curriculum and their students will have the opportunity to participate in the FAI’s international competitions.

Government will a) consider allowing import of air sports equipment without any levies for a specified number of years and b) request the GST Council to consider rationalising the GST rate on air sports equipment to 5% or less.

India aims to attract aerosport enthusiasts from Europe and North America during peak winter as these activities shift to mild climate zones. ASFI and air sports associations will work towards developing a hassle-free process to enable their movement to India. This will enable Indian air sports enthusiasts to learn from the experience of the visiting professionals, get exposed to global best practices and create opportunities to host global competitions in India.

Source: This post is based on the following articles 

– ‘Draft national air sports policy pushes for safety standards’ published in The Hindu on 3rd Jan 2021.

– ‘Ministry of Civil Aviation releases draft ‘National Air Sports Policy’ for public feedback’ published in PIB on 2nd Jan 2021.

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