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NPNT Compliance: Drone Operations

  • 27 Mar 2021
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has granted permits to "No-Permission-No-Takeoff' (NPNT) compliant drone operations at 34 additional green zones to facilitate, smoothen, and promote drone operations in the country.

Key Points

  • About:
    • NPNT is a software program that enables every Remotely Piloted Aircraft (except Nano) to obtain a valid permission through DigitalSky platform before operating in India.
      • Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) is defined as an Unmanned Aircraft (UA), which is piloted from a remote pilot station. Drone is a layman terminology for UA.
      • DigitalSky is a Ministry of Civil Aviation initiative, a highly secure and scalable platform which supports technology frameworks such as NPNT designed for enabling flight permission digitally and managing Unmanned Aircraft operations and traffic efficiently.
    • If a NPNT compliant drone tries to breach geo-fencing (to go beyond the permissible boundary in the airspace), the in-built software will compel the drone to return-to-home (RTH).
    • Drone flights in the green zone sites shall be compliant with the applicable conditions of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021.
    • Flying in the ‘green-zones’ require only intimation of the time and location of the flights.
      • Permissions are required for flying in ‘yellow zones’ and flights are not allowed in the ‘red zones’.
  • Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021:
    • UAS categorised as airplane, rotorcraft and hybrid with further categorisation as remotely piloted aircraft, model remotely piloted aircraft and autonomous unmanned aircraft system.
    • UA is classified as nano, micro, small, medium and large unmanned aircraft based on the maximum all up weight.
    • Mandatory for individuals and companies to obtain approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to import, manufacture, trade, own or operate drones.
    • No Permission- No Take-off (NPNT) policy adopted for all UAS except for those in the nano category.
    • Micro and small UAS are not permitted from flying above 60m and 120m, respectively.
    • UAS prohibited from flying in strategic and sensitive locations, including near airports, defence airports, border areas, military installations/facilities and areas earmarked as strategic locations/vital installations by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
    • Research and development (R&D) organisations, including start-ups, authorised UAS manufacturers, any accredited recognised institution of higher education located in India, are permitted to carry out R&D of UAS only after obtaining authorisation from the DGCA.
    • Penalties ranging between rupees ten thousand and one lakh for individuals, and for organisations, a 200, 300 and 400% of the amount specified for individuals, based on the size of the organisation.
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