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Draft Drone Rules, 2021

  • 16 Jul 2021
  • 5 min read

Why in News

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has unveiled the Draft Drone Rules, 2021 based on “trust, self-certification and non-intrusive monitoring”.

Key Points

  • Aim:
    • To create a “digital sky platform” as a business-friendly single-window online system for procuring various approvals.
      • There will be minimal human interface on the digital sky platform and most permissions will be self-generated.
  • Provisions:
    • Approvals: Abolish the need for various approvals, including certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, import clearance, acceptance of existing drones, operator permit, authorisation of R&D organisation and student remote pilot licence.
      • Fee reduced to nominal levels. No linkage with the size of the drone.
    • Digital Sky Platform: The government will be developing a digital sky platform that will have an interactive airspace map dividing the country into green, yellow, and red zones.
      • It will provide a secure and a scalable platform that supports drone technology frameworks, such as NPNT (no permission, no take-off), designed to enable flight permission digitally and manage unmanned aircraft operations and traffic efficiently.
    • Reduced Airport Perimeter: The draft rules reduced the airport perimeter from 45 km to 12 km.
      • The rules state that no flight permissions would be required to fly upto 400 feet in green zones and upto 200 feet in the area between 8 and 12 km from the airport perimeter.
    • Pilot License: No pilot licence would be needed for micro drones for non-commercial use, nano drones and for R&D organisations.
      • There would be no restriction on drone operations by foreign-owned companies registered in India.
    • Drone Corridor: The Ministry will also facilitate development of drone corridors for cargo deliveries and a drone promotion council will be set up to facilitate a business-friendly regulatory regime.
    • Safety Features: The draft rule also provides for safety features such as real-time tracking beacon, and geo-fencing, which are expected to be notified in future and a six-month lead time will be provided for compliance.
    • Increased Coverage of Drones: The coverage has been increased from 300 kg to 500 kg and will cover drone taxis, while the Issuance of Certificate of Airworthiness has been delegated to Quality Council of India and certification entities authorized by it.
  • Analysis:
    • The decision to liberalize the drone policy even after the recent drone incidents in Jammu showcases the government’s bold approach to promote the use of the drone and focus on the development of counter-drone technology to address the threat posed by rogue drones.
    • The current draft is a welcome move and will go a long way in facilitating investments in drone technology in India.
  • Rules for Drone Regulations in India:

Drone

  • Drone is a layman terminology for Unmanned Aircraft (UA). There are three subsets of Unmanned Aircraft- Remotely Piloted Aircraft, Autonomous Aircraft and Model Aircraft.
    • Remotely Piloted Aircraft consists of remote pilot station(s), the required command and control links and any other components, as specified in the type design.
  • Remotely piloted aircraft have been divided into five categories based on their weight (existing rules)-
    • Nano : Less than or equal to 250 grams.
    • Micro : From 250 grams to 2kg.
    • Small : From 2 kg to 25kg.
    • Medium : From 25kg to 150kg.
    • Large : Greater than 150kg.

Source: IE

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