Govt Seeks to Set Ground Rules for Gy­ro­planes

Seven con­di­tions spelt out in draft pol­icy for 2-seater copter-plane hy­brids

The Economic Times - - Front Page - Aman.Sharma @times­group.com

New Delhi: It’s a bird… It’s a chop­per…. It’s a plane... It’s a gy­ro­plane.

Plane spot­ters in In­dia may soon have some­thing to look up to. Lit­er­ally so, with the gov­ern­ment com­ing out with a draft pol­icy to reg­u­late the op­er­a­tions of gy­ro­planes, or air­craft that com­bine the fea­tures of an aero­plane and a he­li­copter and are pop­u­lar among the rich and fa­mous in Europe and the United States.

In In­dia, though, gy­ro­planes are set to de­but as a mode of per­sonal trans­port rather than an air taxi.

Gy­rox Avi­a­tion, the Gur­gaon­based com­pany which plans to as­sem­ble gy­ro­planes in In­dia from orig­i­nal equip­ment sourced from Poland’s Ce­lier Avi­a­tion, is also eye­ing para­mil­i­tary forces, state po­lice forces and lo­cal gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials for sell­ing the nearly .₹ 1.77 crore ma­chines for sur­veil­lance along the bor­der and other ar­eas in the coun­try.

“Cor­po­rates and high-end in­di­vid­u­als can use a gy­ro­plane as it can travel up to 600 km on a sin­gle tank­ful of petrol,” Gy­rox Avi­a­tion founder Colonel (retd) RP Suhag told ET.

Seven con­di­tions have been spelt out by the gov­ern­ment in its draft pol­icy on gy­ro­planes re­leased on Fri­day af­ter years of con­sul­ta­tions be­tween the min­istries of home and civil avi­a­tion.

The ru­pee plum­meted to a record 68.85 against the dol­lar and re­serves slumped to a low of $275 bil­lion, prompt­ing the gov­ern­ment and cen­tral bank to em­bark on a se­ries of cri­sis-man­age­ment mea­sures. Among th­ese was a spe­cial three-year de­posit scheme for non-res­i­dent In­di­ans (NRIs) with a hedge fa­cil­ity that brought in about $27 bil­lion, which helped sta­bilise the cur­rency.

Since then, the fo­cus on in­fla­tion con­tain­ment at 4% (with a 2 per­cent­age point band on ei­ther side), re­strict­ing the fis­cal deficit and macroe­co­nomic re­forms have helped soothe in­vestor nerves.

For­eign port­fo­lio in­vest­ments have been strong with eq­uity in­vest­ments at ₹ 42,659 crore in 2017 and ₹ 1.32 lakh crore go­ing into debt. This has re­sulted in the ru­pee strength­en­ing 6% this year, mak­ing it the best per­former among ma­jor emerg­ing economi- tive for cof­fee producers to play along. Many con­nois­seurs might feel that the su­pe­rior taste of kopi luwak is non-ex­is­tent, that it’s a way to pass off poor cof­fee and that a lot of what’s sold un­der that la­bel has never been near a civet – con­trol­ling the col­lec­tion of fae­ces is never go­ing to be an ap­peal­ing job. But why raise ques­tions when there are good prof­its to be made?

MON­KEY PARCH­MENT

That In­dian spe­cialty cof­fee producers are go­ing down the civet cof­fee route could in­di­cate that an ex­ist­ing vari­ant hasn’t worked. This was ‘mon­key parch­ment’, a cof­fee in­dus­try term used for beans that, as per some sto­ries, were eaten and ex­creted by mon­keys, though more plau­si­bly were said to be just chewed and spat out by them. Mon­key parch­ment was mostly a tall story told by cof­fee planters, but then it started ap­pear­ing for sale from some producers in tribal ar­eas (a few also claimed to be col­lect­ing civet cof­fee). es. It should be noted that the ru­pee slumped to 68.86 in Novem­ber 2016 be­fore re­cov­er­ing. It closed at 64.09 to the dol­lar on Fri­day.

The cur­rency ap­pre­ci­a­tion is mak­ing im­ports more at­trac­tive while ex­ports are be­com­ing un­com­pet­i­tive. The lat­est RBI data shows that the cur­rent ac­count deficit, the ex­cess of im­ports over ex­ports, was at $14.3 bil­lion in the June quar­ter, up from $0.4 bil­lion a year ear­lier, and $3.4 bil­lion in the March quar­ter. “The widen­ing of the CAD on a year-on-year ba­sis was pri­mar­ily on ac­count of a higher trade deficit of $41.2 bil­lion brought about by a larger in­crease in mer­chan­dise im­ports rel­a­tive to ex­ports,” RBI said in a state­ment.

“The sharp surge in the cur­rent ac­count deficit comes as no sur­prise, with the spike in gold im­ports prior to the in­tro­duc­tion of GST re­spon­si­ble for half of this uptick,” said Aditi Na­yar, econ­o­mist at ICRA, the In­dian unit of Moody’s. Mon­key bit­ten might not score as high on the dis­gust-de­sire scale, which may be why the civet op­tion is be­ing tried.

An­other an­i­mal used for this pur­pose, in Thai­land, is the ele­phant. Cof­fee col­lected from ele­phant dung is called Black Ivory and again is said to re­tail for a high price. Ele­phants are also as­so­ci­ated with an­other dis­gust-de­sire prod­uct, which is pa­per made from ele­phant dung. This was first re­ported in the Times of In­dia in 2001 from a Sri Lankan com­pany called Max­imus Limited, and a few years later was joined by an In­dian brand with the rather more strik­ing name of Haathi Chaap.

In this case the au­tho­ris­ing rea­son that trig­gered the dis­gust-de­sire ap­peal was en­vi­ron­men­tal­ism. Ele­phant dung can con­tain a lot of undi­gested plant fi­bres and pro­cessed plant fi­bres are what pa­per is made from. It then be­comes a suit­ably green way to use up the quan­ti­ties of dung that ele­phants pro­duce – the founder of Max­imus was quoted say­ing “In Sri Lanka we are prac­ti­cally sit­ting

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