Government notifies new Drone rules, makes flying easier

Drone | Representational Image: Pixabay

SRINAGAR — The Ministry of Civil Aviation has notified the Drone Rules 2021, under which the coverage of all-up weight of an unmanned aircraft system has been increased from 300 kg to 500 kg.

Under the new rules, the number of forms that need to be filled to operate them has been reduced from 25 to five while the types of fees charged from the operator has been decreased from 72 to four. Besides, no security clearance will be required before any registration or licence issuance.

The new key takeaways include unique authorisation number, unique prototype identification number, certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, operator permit, authorisation of R&D organisation, student remote pilot licence, remote pilot instructor authorisation, drone port authorization and import permission for drone components.

Coverage of drones under Drone Rules, 2021 has been increased from 300 kg to 500 kg to include heavy payload-carrying drones and drone taxis. The other rules include maximum penalty under Drone Rules 2021 reduced to Rs 1 lakh. This shall, however, not apply to penalties in respect of violation of other laws.

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Interactive airspace map with green, yellow, and red zones will be displayed on the digital sky platform.

Yellow zone reduced from 45 km to 12 km from the airport perimeter, no permission required for operating a drone in green zones and upto 200 feet in the area between 8 and 12 km from the airport perimeter. Online registration of all drones shall happen through the Digital Sky Platform.

“Easy process prescribed for transfer and deregistration of drones, an easy opportunity provided for regularisation of existing drones in the country and no pilot licence required for operating nano drones and micro drones for non-commercial use,” the new rules read.

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Safety features like ‘No permission – no take-off’ (NPNT), real-time tracking beacon, geo-fencing etc. to be notified in future. A minimum six-month lead time will be provided for compliance and all drone training and examination to be carried out by an authorised drone school.

DGCA shall prescribe training requirements, oversee drone schools and provide pilot licences online besides that type certification of drones delegated to Quality Council of India and certification entities authorised by it and no requirement of type certificate, unique identification number, prior permission and remote pilot licence for R&D entities.

Import of drones will also be regulated by DGFT. “Drone corridors will be developed for Cargo deliveries and the unmanned Aircraft Systems Promotion Council to be set up to facilitate a business-friendly regulatory regime,” it said.

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