New Draft Drone Rules 2021 released by MoCA

Drone | Representational Image: Pixabay

SRINAGAR — The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), Government of India on Thursday released Draft Drone Rules, 2021 for public consultation, while seeking the public comments on the draft by August 05.

In a public notice, Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) said that it has released the updated “The Drone Rules, 2021” for public consultation.

“Built on a premise of trust, self-certification, and non-intrusive monitoring, The Drone Rules, 2021 will replace the UAS Rules 2021 (released on 12 March, 2021). The last date for receipt of public comments is August 5, 2021,” it reads.

The notice reads that in the new rules, approvals, unique authorization number, unique prototype identification number, certificate of conformance, certificate of maintenance, import clearance, acceptance of existing drones, operator permit, authorization of R&D organization, student remote pilot license, remote pilot instructor authorization, drone port authorization etc have been abolished.

“Number of forms reduced from 25 to 6. Fee reduced to nominal levels. No linkage with the size of the drone. Safety features like ‘no permission-no take-off (NPNT), real-time tracking beacon, geo-fencing etc. to be notified in future. A six-month lead time will be provided for compliance,” it reads.

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It reads that digital sky platform shall be developed as a business-friendly single-window online system and there will be minimal human interface on the digital sky platform and most permissions will be self-generated.

“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 flight permission required up to 400 feet in green zones and up to 200 feet in the area between 8 and 12 km from the airport perimeter. No pilot license required for micro drones (for non-commercial use), nano-drone and for R&D organizations,” it said.

It reads that no restriction on drone operations by foreign-owned companies registered in India. “Import of drones and drone components be regulated by DGFT. No security clearance required before any registration or license issuance. No requirement of certificate of airworthiness, unique identification number, prior permission and remote pilot license for R&D entities. Coverage of drones under Drone Rules, 2021 increased from 300 kg to 500 kg. This will cover drone taxis also.”

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It further reads that all drone training and testing to be carried out by an authorized drone school. “DGCA shall prescribe training requirements, oversee drone schools and provide pilot licenses online. Issuance of Certificate of Airworthiness delegated to Quality Council of India and certification entities authorized by it. Manufacturer may generate their drone’s unique identification number on the digital sky platform through self-certification route.”

“Easier process prescribed for transfer and deregistration of drones. Standard operating procedures (SOP) and training procedure manuals (TPM) will be prescribed by DGCA on the digital sky platform for self-monitoring by users. No approvals required unless there is a significant departure from the prescribed procedures,” it added.

It reads that maximum penalty under Drone Rules, 2021 have been reduced to INR 1 lakh. “This shall, however, not apply to penalties in respect of violation of other laws. Drone corridors will be developed for cargo deliveries. Drone promotion council to be set up to facilitate a business-friendly regulatory regime,” it reads.

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