The Ministry of Civil Aviation on Saturday issued a draft National Air Sports Policy (NASP) to leverage India’s potential for air sports, given its large geographical expanse, diverse topography and fair weather conditions.
The draft NASP 2022 covers sports such as aerobatics, aeromodelling, ballooning, drones, gliding, hang gliding, paragliding and skydiving.
An Air Sports Federation of India (ASFI) will be established as the apex governing body, according to the draft NASP. Associations for each air sport will handle day-to-day activities. For instance, the Paragliding Association of India will manage sports within its ambit.
The air sports associations shall be accountable to ASFI with respect to the regulatory oversight and for providing safe, affordable, accessible, enjoyable and sustainable conduct of their respective air sport, the draft policy stated. ASFI will represent India at Federation Aronautique Internationale (FAI) and other global platforms related to air sports, it noted.
The FAI, headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, is the world governing body for air sports. All competitions in India will be conducted as per the guidelines laid down by the FAI, the draft NASP noted.
According to the ministry, the new initiative will facilitate greater participation and success of Indians in global air sporting events. Schools, colleges and universities will be encouraged to include air sports in their curriculum, it noted.
Domestic design, development and manufacturing of air sports equipment will be promoted in line with the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, it mentioned. Inability to enforce safety standards by an air sports association might lead to penal action by the ASFI against such association, including financial penalties, suspension or dismissal.
All persons and entities providing air sports services will be required to register as members of the respective air sports associations, it stated. Key equipment used for air sports shall be registered with the respective air sports association, till such equipment is decommissioned, damaged beyond repair or lost, it noted.
Long term funding for the development of air sports in India should come from corporate investors, sponsors, membership fees, events and media rights, it mentioned. ASFI may seek financial support from the Government of India for the promotion of air sports, especially in the initial years.
During peak winters, the level of air sports reduces in Europe and North America, and the air sports aficionados migrate to milder climates, it said. ASFI and the 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, the draft mentioned.